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.
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.