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  • Writer's pictureMary Bergida DeLuca

Presence and Entering Your Writing Rhythm

Updated: Nov 24, 2020


The final months of the year offered me a secret. A new approach to writing. Over the previous 7 months I had finally reached some sort of a regular writing routine, though it often still felt a bit perilous, more like a compulsory visit to the dentist than a chat with a good friend.

It was early November and I was desperately trying to finish Part I of the historical piece I’ve been pouring myself into for nearly two years. I tried kinetic approaches of printing the draft and then moving around scenes according to mood. It all sounds very fun and crafty, but afterward I felt depressed and no closer to completion. Little did I know that “tinkering” and strategizing at this phase was actually blocking out my creative flow.


Intuitive Writing


Then I started listening to interviews with writers who see their creative practice more like meditation. A place to enter and receive. Listening to one of my great writing inspirations and a personal mentor, Lauren Sapala, talk about intuitive writing made me feel like I could finally name a rhythm. A rhythm I’d been hearing in the back of my creative life since childhood. (I cannot recommend highly enough Lauren’s online Intuitive Writing Course.)


Something shifted. I changed the way I entered into my practice.


I used to rush, internally a hot mess, to writing. But now that has changed.



Begin with Presence


Rather than scrambling off to my workplace, setting up shop, gritting my way into writing, I now allow my mornings to be peaceful. I wake, make tea, often staying in bed while I meditate.


Then, I listen to music and stretch out my body in whatever way it feels. (Okay, I dance. And it looks goofy. Really goofy. But no one is watching, so it’s fine.)


And then I sit on the couch, open my laptop, and I say: “I’m here.”


For me, I am able to dedicate multiple mornings a week to writing. For you, your writing might be after work, or stolen hours on the weekend, or after the kids are finally asleep. But no matter what, the key element seems to be Presence. Arriving fully.


Now, just because I’m present and peaceful doesn’t mean all I write is love and joy. Actually, this state of presence means I can often more deeply access loss and fear and grief, allowing them to wash on the page in a first wave of anguish.


And no matter what the words, I simply stay as long as they come.


Because you see, I’ve already spent the morning stilling and listening in meditation. Then listening to sounds and beats and responding to them with my body. I’m in the perfect place to hear a story. It sounds kind-of hokey, but it’s been working.



Receiving


I’ve let go of control, of outcomes, of word count. I had even let go of finishing my first draft and told myself it wouldn’t happen in 2019, but it was okay. Maybe the story was not ready.


Then one day as I sat down to write, I realized the draft was finished. It felt complete. I had opened my hands. Instead of pushing, I had invited the words to come. And they did. Instead of working against my rhythms, I was working with them.


Writing as an Act of Trust and Authenticity


In addition to working with my rhythms, I am also learning to trust that the words I need to transcribe will arrive each day that I write. I am grasping that my writing is preparing me for the ways I need to grow in trust throughout my entire life.


As a yoga teacher told me recently, what we do in our practice, should prepare us, give us the disposition, for the rest of our lives.


  • What greater dispositions might you begin to lean into with your own writing practice? Perhaps: Hope, Gentleness, Joy, even Honesty or Grief?


  • As you journey deeper into this week, month, year, what small step can you take so that arriving at the page is just another way of becoming your most complete, fully alive, and fully present self?

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