Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Calm Mind is an Efficient Mind

Last week, I was totally stressed about line edits and all my upcoming deadlines. On Saturday, I sat down to write and I had the worst time! I spent about six hours and I only wrote about 1/5 of what I would usually write in that time. And what I did write wasn't that strong. So, I gave up and spent the rest of the weekend doing line edits.

But then on Saturday night, I went to a Q&A with 4 professional athletes (runners) who have been to the Olympics. All of them said they run their best when they are calm and relaxed before a race. Why? Because their mind is clear, empty of conflict and distraction. The more there is going on in their mind, the less likely they will race well.

That made me think of a workshop I went to recently with a NYT bestselling author, who basically said the same thing: the brain is most efficient when it is calm. Example: if you are working on a problem and you can't get it figured out, the more time you spend on it, the more frustrated you get, and you STILL can't figure it out! So you give up, and then later, when you're not thinking about it, the answer comes to you.

Why? Because later, you weren't cluttering your mind with all this other stuff, like frustration and stress etc. And I realized that that's what I was doing to myself with my writing. I was so strung out and thinking about all these things I needed to do, that my mind was simply too busy to simply relax and create.

So, after taking yesterday off to regroup, I am sitting down today with a calm mind. I'm not going to worry about deadlines, or writing well, or anything like that. I'm simply going to focus on the story and enjoy the ride.


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