Let’s turn our thoughts today to the subject of happiness and finding inner peace. What’s your go-to method for achieving balance and harmony in life? Does the discipline of writing help you stay balanced and impact your mood in a positive way, or is it more like a daily chore?
And if you need some inspiration along those lines, please enjoy Ray Bradbury’s “Zen in the Art of Writing”.
Balance and harmony to me first starts with physical exercise. One of the things I hated so much about my now former job (I can’t say that enough. YEEHAW!!!!!) is that it entirely stripped away from me any sense of balance or harmony whatsoever.
Now that I have a much, much, much, much, much better job, I am working on rebuilding that balance and harmony. Walking, weight lifting, and I just started taekwondo which, while I suck at it at the moment, I absolutely LOVE doing.
Journaling also plays a part in balance & harmony. I like to do Julia Cameron’s morning pages. Creative writing–the actual writing itself (not the researching, the plotting, etc.) is also a part of balance and harmony. There’s nothing more zen-like than having a solid story in your head and seeing it flow out onto the page (or the computer screen).
You are my hero, BK.
I loved reading Bradbury’s book. The chapter “How to Keep and Feed a Muse” is worth the price of the book. He speaks to how the subconscious rules, and the storehouse inside us as the source of all creativity. What to feed your muse? Bradbury says to read poetry every day. Dive into books of essays. Don’t be a snob though, help yourself to equal parts trash and treasure. And feed your senses; take long walks and observe and absorb. To keep the Muse you must work regularly, work well, and “stay drunk on writing.”
Just yesterday I tweeted that, one of my favorite Bradbury quotes: “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
Bradbury’s method of writing, with intense focus (see his quote in my post from last Sunday) gets a writer into that “flow” state where all other concerns melt away. That’s good for the soul.
If I go for more than a day or two without writing, my mood slips accordingly. Nothing feels right, and I have the sense that something is missing. It’s funny, because I usually sit down to write with a strong sense of fear that whatever I put down is going to be inadequate, and I have to power through that.
I meditate 5-7 days a week and make sure I get out with the dogs for a little while each day. Working out is important, too. I’ve recently given up sugar and refined carbs. Hmmm. Now that I look at that list, it’s not very cool and writerly. I’m thinking I might need a vice!
Long walks along the boat docks are my inspiration when I get tired of pounding the keys. The scenery is gorgeous, and as I walk I find it easier to work out problems in my WIP.
I need two things under me: two feet and two wheels. Two feet running and a motorcycle on a good road. Both are my refuge and my source of ideas.
I’ve been largely barred from the two feet on the ground aspect for over a year, courtesy of an injury (long boring story) and am now beginning, once again, the tiresome recuperation from the surgery that may get me back to running.
Fortunately, I’ve still been able to ride my bikes, and that has provided some release and contentment.
I note that the things I need to do to replenish myself are always solitary.
There’s actually a book on the Zen of Writing. How brilliant of Bradbury!
Walking is a good way to clear the mind. I have no problem with my muse (unless it wakes me at 2 am, of course!)
For me, writing seems to be my escape. I think I need to escape life continuously. Thus, writing since age 17 opened up a new way for me to deal. I really can’t stand reality, and have to live vicariously through my characters.
Curmudgeon here, I really hate writing. “So why the hell are you here?” Ya say. Well, I really love when friends and family read my work. Not for attention, or tiny pats atop my head, but for the discussion. When two people can read a story and put the pages down with polar ideas of the intent, plot, or character motive, then argue their sides, well, it’s my drug. So, I write to listen. As far as balace, I make sure to spend the first half of my day in fun. Then, I work. Otherwise, I resent the writing for taking my time that could have been devoted to play. First cake, then steamed broccoli for a balanced life!