It’s day three of NaBloPoMo and I’m writing about writer’s block. I’ve started and stopped seven (seven!) different posts today. It’s 8pm and I’m on the edge of panic. I’ve set this month’s daily posting as a goal for myself and as an experiment. Mostly I want to just write anyway. Just write anyway. Even when I don’t want to. Even when it’s hard. Even when I’m blocked like this. Just write anyway. It will help me get better as a writer.
So, I’ll do a body scan and check in with myself here (and see if I can still touch-type with my eyes shut. Heh!) I’m tight around my eyes. I’m tight between my shoulder blades. I’m grinding my ankles together. I’m hunched over my laptop…”loosen,” “relax,” “let go”
Writing as a practice.
There is a concept in Yoga called, “abhyasa.” I have two favorite ways to interpret abhyasa, the first is “tireless dedication to practice” and the second is “practice for practice’s sake.”
With abhyasa, I can hold my goals in my mind, but I also let them go. There’s no deal-making like, “if I do this, I’ll get that.” There is only, “I would like that goal. Practicing will help. I see that. Now, I will focus on the doing because it is in the practice that I remember to stay present and be here in the now.”
I do want to meet my goal of improving my writing. I want to extend myself, break some boundaries and fears (like writing a poem or doing a vlog , both of which scare the jeepers out of me.) But, I also understand that these goals are vague enough that I won’t really know what I’ve learned until I get to the end. And that month-end goal isn’t enough to get my hand to the page every single day.
I choose abhyasa.
And that makes me think of another goal or benefit to this month, I hope that the discipline of writing daily, no matter what, will be something I can slip into with regularity after the month is done. Perhaps I can even point back to the month of November as an example of being able to write because I chose to, even when it wasn’t easy or good. I still chose it.
So, here I am practicing and I’ve made it to 400 words just sorting through my thoughts on (dare I say it and bring it back to my mind?) writer’s block. Yes, there’s all that tightness creeping back in over these 400 odd words, but there’s also a subtle openness, too. There’s permission to write through the tightness. There’s surrender there. There’s even a little love and compassion if I allow myself to feel it.
Abhyasa feels good. I’m in the flow and fully present. It’s uncomfortable to feel the block, but I’m okay with it. I can look that specter in the face and smile. Maybe the next time we meet this month, I’ll put my arm around block’s shoulders (which are really my shoulders) and give them a little massage to loosen it up.
Do you ever keep to a practice purely for the experience? How do you keep going even when you don’t want to? I would love to hear from you.
- November NaBloPoMo Comes with Prizes and More (blogher.com)
- Blog for Blogging’s Sake, Write for Writing’s Sake (shaicoggins.com)
- Are You Ready for NaBloPoMo? (lizasperling.com)
- No Excuses. National Just Write Month! (newcommbiz.com)
- November’s NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month (blogher.com)
- Happy Halloween! Oh Lord, that means NaBloPoMo starts tomorrow. (theparanormalist.wordpress.com)