During a toast recently, a writer friend of mine suggested we take a few seconds to be “mindful” of what we were drinking to. We paused before sipping our wine to truly connect with the moment. Although I went along with everyone, in my head I was thinking, Here we go. Another sip from the New Age Kool-Aid.
As it turned out, being mindful just then was a pivotal moment for me.
I’ve felt increasingly disconnected lately, creatively speaking. It’s partly a concentration thing. I’m not sure if it’s age or working on the Internet all day, but I don’t dive into concentration quite as easily or as deeply as I used to. Whereas before I could look up and find an hour or more was gone while I’m working on a writing project, now I can get bored with myself within a few minutes. It can make it difficult getting work done.
Mindfulness might be the key to regaining my previous levels of concentration.
“Writing mindfully”, I have just found out in a Google search, is not an original idea. There is:
- “The Art of Mindful Writing” (https://writingcooperative.com/the-art-of-mindful-writing-6b7cb1dac756)
- A “Mindful Writing” blog post at mindful.org that ironically gets interrupted by a pop-up ad for something (https://www.mindful.org/a-writing-practice-for-those-who-like-to-keep-doing/)
- Even a whole website dedicated to mindfulness for writers (https://mindfulnessforwriters.com/) – complete again with an interruption ad
In fact, there are about 1.5 million results for the phrase: writing mindfully. That’s enough rabbit holes to keep me procrastinating for a long time! (Cue maniacal laughter.)
My New Year’s Resolution – Sort Of
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I’m going to make an exception this year. I am in the process of putting together some writing goals and, by extension, some life goals. It’s simple: I feel like I’m not accomplishing enough in my writing, both for my day job and my personal work. (That includes the edits for Social Grooming for Higher Primates, which are coming but more slowly than I would have hoped.)
I’m not at a point where I can pledge concrete goals for any projects. I know this sounds like I’m skirting already. But it’s quite… mindful. This blog post is a first of many small steps in what is ultimately a far-reaching experiment.
Another small step is the notebook pictured above. Confession: I draw writing inspiration from buying office supplies. (Am I crazy? Does anyone else do this?) Sticky notes, pens, paper clips even – or as in this case, a notebook. The phrase on the cover intrigued me: Escape To Budgie. What does that even mean? Is it a typo or maybe a misprint? Is in an example of a Chinglish translation fail? Or is there some hidden meaning I’m failing – or perhaps not yet worthy – to see?
I’m hoping it’s that last one.
I’m not sure how I’m going to use the notebook in this adventure, but I may write down notes about each day’s accomplishments. Doesn’t matter, actually. It’s already done its job with its “Escape to Budgie” slogan emblazoned on the cover in small, friendly letters.
I imagine I’ll talk more about my projects and goals later, including regular updates to this blog. In this moment though, I’m just going to savour the completion of this post, look out over the New Year ahead.
Happy New Year, all. I hope 2019 is the year we all Escape To Budgie.