Thursday, August 14, 2008

Writing Like a Zen Master

Wow, what a productive day! It's 12:30 a.m. and I'm still working.

This morning I got up at 6:00 a.m. and wrote a 14-page short story called "The Dealer of Insatiable Needs." I banged it out in about six hours. It's pure horror and creepy as hell. I was getting goosebumps just typing away at the keyboard this morning. I'm making the story available this week at my new blog DARK LUCIDITY. Tonight I built the new blog to publish my short fiction on-line. Check it out and read the "Welcome" page.

So how did I go from unmotivated, procrastinating slacker to rampant motivation in just one day? Let's backtrack. As I shared in yesterday's post, I was so down on myself for not getting anything done toward writing or marketing. I was feeling guilty, like I was throwing my dream away. I literally sat on my bed and just stared at the walls, trying to motivate myself into action. I know I can be stubborn with other people. But it's a royal pain when I'm stubborn with myself. But sometimes it's like there's a little kid inside me who just won't budge. So I thought, well if I'm going to procrastinate with work, I might as well read an inspirational book.

I'm staying at my friend's house for a couple weeks and she has all these great spiritual books lying around. I picked up Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. You may be familiar with him, he wrote Power of Now and one of Oprah's favorites A New Earth. I start reading Stillness Speaks and it's comprised of short passages called sutras that help you slow down your mind and just relax. Be in the moment and breathe deeply. He talks about how all creativity comes from stillness. All we have to do is take a few moments to focus on nothing. I know that can be hard to do on your own, but this book guides you through the process. I kept reading the sutras and noticed that all my mental chatter just all of the sudden stopped. I reached this zen master state and just let go of all my attachments to getting work done today. The rest of the day I was so relaxed. I went for a workout at the gym then took a walk, noticing the sky, the clouds, the mountains. I know this sounds kind of woo woo, but I had a breakthrough. I went to sleep calm and, when I woke up, I was inspired to write and my short story just rolled across my computer screen as fast as I could type. I didn't even have think much about it. It was literally like the story was being told to me. As a writer, I don't always know where my creativity comes from, but I do believe I have a muse, and when I silence all the mental chatter, I get much more accomplished. Not only was I inspired to write, but as soon I completed my short story, I easily jumped to a whole list of tasks. Whew! Okay, now it's 1:00 a.m. and I'm going to force myself to stop and go to bed or I'll be too tired to wake up in the morning.

If you find yourself procrastinating on something that needs to get done, or if you're blocked creatively, I recommend taking the day off and stilling the mind. Read Stillness Speaks.


  1. Awesome, Bro! I just caught up with all of your blogs (i loved the Eli deafness/crying in the night bit, and laughed like crazy at the sight of you fighting the foam demon!). Happy and excited to hear about your days, especially about your success in finding a home and in writing the story. I look forward to reading it. Everything calm on this end, believe it or not. Just missing you like crazy, CHU KNOW? Anywhoooo... time to go to lunch, which in my world means errand running. Maybe I will go to a bookstore and find Stillness Speaks...

    Mucho Love, Pamela

  2. I love reading your blog each day. I just now realized that to respond, I needed to enter on "comment"! How easy. And, yes I'm truly procrastinating on getting that really long application filled out for teaching. I'll keep reading and following along with the inspiration the you deliver. Until later, you long lost cuz.

  3. Slowly but surely I'm figuring out how to leave a comment. Maybe this one will go through now that I'm official! I've been right there with you on procrasting and not getting done what I need to get done. In the mean time, I've really enjoyed reading your blogs. Each one is like it's own short story! So, what am I procrasting on? The teacher application! Maybe I'll tag along on your blogs and the inspiration to move forward will jump right through the computer. Luv the talk about Eli. I felt as though I was right there in the middle of the night hearing his cries! Until later, your long lost cuz.