Writing and Meditation

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I am a meditator and a writer. I meditate in the morning and write in the morning. I also practice yoga. To me, these are all intertwined.

While yoga originated in India, its been universally accepted. The U.S. alone has an estimated 36 million yoga practitioners. It has adapted to local socio-political and cultural norms world over so much so that it can hardly be called an Indian custom. The system of yoga has physical, mental, and emotional dimensions in addition to spiritual underpinnings. But yoga is not a religion. It has no dogma. But the practice for me is essential to my writing and brings me to a place where I can write truth.

Meditation helps improve focus. Something essential for the good writer. I began meditating years ago with a meditation method popular at that time, Transcendental Meditation. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi developed this mantric method of meditation in the 50’s in India, and it spread widely throughout the world. For me, it was a good place to learn the technique, but my meditation practice evolved when I combined meditation with yoga, especially Kundalini. Kundalini is a spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine, conceptualized as a coiled serpent. It didn’t matter which type of meditation I was using, as long as it focused my mind and enabled me to write from that place.

Meditation slows the world down to make room for creative thought and exploration. It’s an ideal practice for the writer or artist.

I will be blogging on Thursdays and Tuesdays, as announcements as they come along. Follow me at http://www.EileenPKennedy.com. I will be on hiatus for the summer until September. See you then.

Using the Library for Writing

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I was struggling with writing a poem about a historical incident. I just couldn’t find a way into the poem. I tried locking myself in my study, ignoring the phone when it rang, procrastinating with housework, but nothing worked.

Then a writer friend of mine made a suggestion. Go to the Library. I live in Massachusetts where every town has a town library, but it just didn’t occur to me. I’ve read many articles and blogs on how to focus as a writer, but I hadn’t tried my local library.

I organized my writing materials as best I could, convinced I would leave important things at home that I would need there. I allowed for time to get to and from the library (about eight minutes each way. ) I carried my computer and notes to the car and set off.

When I arrived there, I found a lovely place to sit, a desk with partitions that actually blocked me from other desks. It was quiet and I easily tuned my computer into the wifi, and soon enough I was writing a rough draft. I came to a point where I needed to confirm some historical information, and the reference librarian was at the ready to help.

I wound up bringing the draft home and finishing it there. I recently submitted the poem. I don’t know if it will be accepted, but at least I finished it and it’s off my desk.

I’ll be blogging on Thursdays and doing announcements on Tuesdays as they come along. Follow me.

LISTENING TO YOUR INNER VOICE

Sometimes I wait until the last minute to write what I want. Why is that?

In the end, I try to listen to my inner voice that speaks my true thoughts that ultimately helps me cut through nonsense that sometimes enters into my writing. Good writing comes from the true self.

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Join me in imagining and getting in touch with your inner self. Try writing from that one true voice.

I’ll continue to blog on Thursdays, with announcements, as they come, on Tuesdays. If you’d like me to make an announcement for an upcoming reading, publication or award, get in touch with me her.

Sometimes Failure Is Part of the Process

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Experimenting is part of the creative process. Things can change at any stage in a painting’s or manuscript’s development. 

The writing process is an exciting and adventurous process. It sometimes feels electrifying and at other times, downright discouraging.  A writer needs to go in knowing that it might not work.   It means that results don’t matter as much as the process, the joy and the journey.

I try to keep this in mind every time I sit down at a blank page. An athlete has to work out to get to a point where she wins the competition. A writer sometimes has to fail many times before succeeding. It’s part of the journey to that wonderful piece that finally works.

I’ll be blogging on Thursdays, and posting announcements, as they come, on Thursdays. Follow me on WordPress at http://www.eileenpkennedy.com

Book Titles

I am terrible at titles. I’ve published three books and each one wound up with a different title than I proposed.

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And I’ve published two poetry collections. Each poem,aside from an occasional haiku, has its own title. Here are some things I’ve learned about titling:

  1. A book title should be memorable. It’s the one thing that will lead people back to the book.
  2. A book title should be short. Shorter is generally better than longer. My first collection of poetry was one word: Banshees: Poems. It was one word, but let people know it was a poetry collection.
  3. A book title should provide information about the book. For my poetry book titles, I list the title and then poems, so that people will know it’s a poetry collection. The textbook I published had a very informative title: Ready to Use Lessons and Activities for the Primary Inclusive Classroom. This is neither short nor particularly memorable, but people knew exactly what it was. This is important with nonfiction. My editor convinced me of this and I think she was right.
  4. A title should set a mood. My second collection of poetry was on a hard subject: Alzheimer’s Disease. I wrote it about my experiences with my partner who died of this dread disease. I called the collection Touch My Head Softly. This gave a softer feel to this difficult topic. Check out this book, my latest, at:

    https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Using Your Dreams in Your Writing

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Do you dream at night? Do you remember your dreams? Have you ever used your dreams in your writing? Whatever thoughts, ideas or imaginations your mind comes up with when you sleep can be translated into creative writing.

I find the first step is to write down your dreams. Keep a notebook and pencil by your bed and write them down as soon as you wake up. Some psychologists believe that when farmers went to bed at sundown and rose at sunrise, they would wake up in the night and use the middle of the night as their creative time, including writing time.

Think of your dreams as writing prompts, rather than a whole novel. Although some fiction writers do write down their dreams. It may be a creative idea that is nagging at you to come out. The world is stressful these days, and frightening thoughts might come up, but use them as the start of a poem or story.

William Blakes “Land of Dreams” came from his very lively subconscious:

Awake, awake my little Boy!

Thou wast thy Mother’s only joy:

Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep?

Awake! Thy Father does thee keep.

I will blog on Thursdays, with announcements on Tuesdays, when I have them. Follow me on WordPress.

Writing as an Antidote to a Crumbling World

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I woke up last night in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep, war on my mind. The new poem I had written that day needed a title. I got out of bed and added the title to the poem.

This act of writing can be a savior in these dark times. The writing is a form of sanity for me. If I am writing about current events or not, it is a way of keeping myself focussed on something positive.

My creative visualizations are on world peace these days. My creative writing takes me anywhere it leads me.

I will continue to blog on Thursdays, with announcements on Tuesdays.

Writing the Landscape

One thing I love about winter in the Northeast is the snow. Now the snow is going, and it’s officially spring this week.

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I love the quiet, the writerlyness of the whole thing. But how does this affect my writing? I wrote a collection of poems about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s. We had spent a lot of time in Mexico, so this landscape came into my poems:

“When I think of Oaxaco

I remember the Zocolo

where they sold pipa del agua

and chocolate dripping from paper cups.”

The setting just naturally came into the poem. Does this happen with you?

Take look at my collection:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

I will continue to blog on Thursdays and do announcements, as they come in, on Tuesdays.

Writing the Landscape

One thing I love about winter in the Northeast is the snow. This is the view from my back porch.

I love the quiet, the writerlyness of the whole thing. But how does this affect my writing? I wrote a collection of poems about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s. We had spent a lot of time in Mexico, so this landscape came into my poems:

“When I think of Oaxaco

I remember the Zocolo

where they sold pipa del agua

and chocolate dripping from paper cups.”

The setting just naturally came into the poem. Does this happen with you?

Take look at my collection:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

How to Avoid Distractions While Writing

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It’s really easy to get distracted when writing, especially now that we’re all often working at home. Phone calls, emails and housework all conspire to take away the writing time.

Losing focus while in the middle of writing can seriously damage the quality of your content, The human brain takes around 17 minutes to refocus on a task after a distraction. If you want your writing to be the best quality content possible, you need to get rid of distractions. Billy Collins, the former Poet Laureate of the U.S., suggests sitting with your idea and writing until the complete thought is down,

You can disable notifications on your computer and delay household chores until after writing.If you put your writing first, you get more accomplished and the quality of the content will be better.

During the pandemic I wrote a collection of poetry and had it published.  I did this by focusing.  Take a look at the book:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/