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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Writing Practice

“What writing practice, like Zen practice, does is bring you back to the natural state of mind…The mind is raw, full of energy, alive and hungry. It does not think in the way we were brought up to think—well-mannered, congenial.” ― Natalie Goldberg

There is definitely a time to write with clear purpose and direction. Writing practice is not that time. When you approach writing practice, it should be with the intention of capturing the most immediate, most alive thoughts in your mind. Don’t try to dress them up for company, or comb and spit-polish them so they find favor with finicky Aunt Ruth. Let them be wild and fresh and free, unconcerned with manners or propriety.

Like the Zen practice of Zazen (sitting practice), which is "opening the hand of thought", writing practice lets you write about those thoughts. Undirected awareness. An observation of the thoughts passing through your mind and awareness. Although I haven’t sat zazen, Debbie did, and she likened it to writing practice.

This is similar to journaling, although I used to journal with an agenda, and more often than not, an imagined audience. In writing practice, there is no audience. There are no requirements for logic or manners or circumspection. All that matters is gut-level honesty with yourself.

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