Before the pandemic hit, I never suffered writer’s block, yet like many writers, I struggled to focus on my work during 2020. My participation in Lori Snyder’s free Writer’s Happiness retreats has proven invaluable in helping get me back on track. She’s not only an awesome yoga instructor and writer, Lori is also adept in bringing a community of writers together, so I’m turning my blog time over to her. Enjoy and Namaste.
Laura Moe, EPIC Group Writers Board President
Joy, Breath, Space, And Writing: Finding Time to Remember Who You Are
There's a lot of talk about self-care, particularly these days in the midst of...well, everything! And there's good reason for that. Taking care of ourselves is the first step to building a world based on kindness, on creativity, on equity, and on inclusion—and it's also incredibly helpful to those of us who write or create anything.
As writers, so much of what we need to do can look to the rest of the world like time off: going for walks, staring into space, reading, thinking. A friend of mine calls this making the psychic space to write, which I just love. But in a culture like ours, one that so values being busy and turns a side-eye on unstructured time, it can be tough to actually make this happen. When we are able to, though, it changes everything: our focus, our writing, our perspectives. It's like coming home to ourselves, to that part of us from which all art arises.
There are so many ways to come home to ourselves, to remember who we are. As a long-time yoga teacher, I'm partial to yoga and meditation. Both of them can let the spinning mind slow down long enough to reconnect it with our hearts and bodies, letting our whole integrated selves show up to the page and to our lives. And you don't need hours and hours to do this—even just a few minutes can make a huge difference.
Try this: First, notice how you feel right now, in this moment. Then, close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Go ahead; I'll wait. When you open your eyes again, notice how you feel now, in this moment. Maybe something shifted. Maybe there's a little more spaciousness. Breath is a huge key to connecting us to ourselves. Try these three deep breaths before you begin writing if you'd like; they often take less than a minute and the results can be pretty brilliant.
Or, try this: If you're in the midst of a spinning mind these days, or insomnia, or writers block, take one to three minutes to lie on your back with your legs up the wall—and yes, you can do this in bed!
Another path to inspiration is community, the kind of community where we feel free to be who we are, with no expectations or requirements. This is part of the reason why I created the Writers Happiness Movement. I want to live in a world where kindness and art matter, and to me that means holding space for writers to have, well...space.
There's a magic that happens when we allow ourselves to just be. When we let the labels we identify with and the roles we play peel away; when we give ourselves full permission to be who we are. Undefended. Unabashed. Free. To me, this is the ultimate in self-care—and, as writers and humans, it's what lets us create what we want to create.
Lori Snyder is a writer and the founder of the Writers Happiness Movement, which offers free online yoga, meditation, and retreats for writers, as well as microgrants and more. She's also a long-time yoga teacher, leader of the Splendid Mola Writing Retreats, and a great fan of all things gritty and glittery. Her debut MG fantasy, The Circus at the End of the Sea—her love letter to delight, the ocean, and Venice, CA—comes out with Harper Collins in October 2021. You can find her and the Writers Happiness Movement at www.writershappiness.com.
We have such a variety of writers in our organization that we thought it would be fun, exciting and enlightening to have multiple blog post authors.
We will be sharing all sorts of writing-related topics!