A-Z Writer's Toolbox: Yoga & Zen

GOING ON BLOGCATION:

A-Z is finished!  Thank you all so much for sticking with me this month (and thanks to all of the new followers as well)!  This was truly a challenge, and I really feel a sense of accomplishment having pulled it off.  I'll confess that when I started I never thought I would be able to keep up with posting daily for an entire month.  I guess you never know what you can do until you try?  I hope I've provided you with at least a few helpful bits of information, inspiration or entertainment in the process.

Taking part in the challenge has put me way behind in keeping up with all of the wonderful blogs I follow (you all), responding to all of the people who've taken the time to follow and comment on my A-Z posts, and various other blog community tasks.  I greatly apologize for that.  Consequently, I'm going to be taking a blog vacation for the next few weeks in an attempt to read all of the great stuff I've undoubtedly missed.  I'm also going to work on finishing a couple of writing projects that have taken a backseat.  I'll apologize in advance for the silence, but I hope to come back energized with loads of great stuff to talk about.  Until then, take care and keep writing.

~EJW~

Y and Z are for yoga and zen



Let me put this out there right from the start: I'm not suggesting writers need to take up yoga.  Undoubtedly, we'd all be a little more healthy for it, but I'm not sure it's in the cards for everyone.  Personally, I'm about as flexible as petrified tree dowsed in cement, and spandex and I have never been the best of friends.  I digress ...

As a discipline there is a ton that writers can learn from yoga.  There's a saying that yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory, and I think that applies to writing as well.  Although some may have a natural ability, most of the folks who truly excel at writing had to learn how.  They learned how through repetition.

In yoga, concentration is king.  To hold an excruciating pose you must block out your discomfort, you must block out distractions, and you must above all focus on the act itself.

Writing is no different.  It's often intensely uncomfortable and infinitely difficult to sustain.  Much like yoga, writing takes an incredible amount of discipline and patience.  Very little in writing can be learned quickly, and mastery can take a lifetime--if it comes at all.  It is a daily grind that requires strength and endurance.

Like yoga, progress in writing is often hard to measure, and almost solely gauged on an individual basis.  Forget comparing yourself to others in yoga, it's an internal and subjective act.  You're only going to best yourself.  I think the same SHOULD apply to writing.  Forget comparisons, just try to be better than you were the day before.

Yoga and the Zen philosophy go hand in hand, as do writing and Zen.  Zen is all about attaining wisdom and enlightenment through study and self-reflection.  Yoga teaches Zen by forcing you to explore your limits (both physical and mental).  If you attempt to write your flaws and limits will flash like a neon sign from day one.  Zen emphasizes slowing down mentally, as does yoga.  Writing a novel forces you to slow down and examine the parts of a whole.

There are so many other commonalities we could discuss, but I think I'll leave you with a few Zen quotes and sayings to let you ponder how it might apply to your writing life.

Lao Tzu ~
"The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."


Do not speak - unless it improves on silence.

The path of the enlightened one leaves no track- it is like the path of birds in the sky.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.

We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.
Student says " I am very discouraged. What should I do?" Master says, "encourage others."

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.

A jug fills drop by drop.

22 comments:

  1. I agree E.J. Today, I worked all day on revising chapter 10, but I only did two pages all day.
    S-l-o-w....

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  2. Congrats on getting to the end of the alphabet with some great posts.

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  3. You and I must have the same thoughts. My Y post is Yoga and Writing. I never thought that they would go hand in hand, but nothing can teach focus, discipline, and patience like the power of yoga.

    Congrats on finishing the challenge!

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  4. Some great quotes. Well done and hope to see you in the future.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  5. At some point we all realize, everything is yoga ... it is complete and all-encompassing.

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  6. Congratulations for completing the A-Z. The writing, yoga analogy is perfect.

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  7. z all you can z... it's over and we all made it!
    A to Z Blog Challenge Participant
    Jeremy [iZombie]
    izombielover.blogspot.com

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  8. Great post, and congratulations on reaching the end of the challenge!

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  9. EJ, we did it! Congratulations! I have an award for you!!

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  10. Congrats EJ and enjoy your blogging break. My parents are over from Uk on Monday so no doubt my online habits will change too. I already struggle to get round everyone promptly as it is!

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  11. Love the quotes!
    As for yoga, I'm WAY too impatient! Which, alas, is true of other aspects of my life also :)
    Congrats on completing the A-Z Challenge - it was great!

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  12. Congratulations on completing the A-Z challenge. I loved reading all the entries!

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  13. I love the quotes... and EVERYTHING else. As usual. You deserve a break after blogging so much.

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  14. Yep, May is a great month for rest, catching up, and writing. Good luck!
    erica

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  15. ...Hey E.J., congrats on finishing up A-Z, and thanks for stopping by the pad and commenting. Your words left me humbled. And quite honestly, I've always considered your work as a rung on the ladder that I need to strive for. I'm thinking a future book tour is in our sights:)

    Take care and thanks again!

    EL

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  16. I see the A to Z challenge wore you out. I know how it feels. :) I hope you enjoy your break.

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  17. I love this post, E.J. I've been in tree pose while reading it and very soon I will be in fetal pose, as I check my email for rejections. LOL

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  18. I like yoga and enjoy how you compared it to writing. All so very true. And that comment about the spandex made me smile.

    Good luck with your writing projects. And reading. And whatever. I look forward to your return and understand. I, too, am behind on other things. The challenge was great but there is a whole 'nother world outside the blog.

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  19. That's a fantastic comparison between writing and yoga and zen. Not comparing yourself to others, slowing down and examining more closely. I'm sort of taking a blogging break too but midway through May I was starting to get lonely for other writers, checking back in with my crusader friends...

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  20. Yup - that a-z challenge about did me in ... my blogging still has not quite recovered fully!

    I hope you are accomplishing much with your writing!!

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  21. Hey, you are still alive. Hope you've been getting a lot of writing done in your time off. :)

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“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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