For many of us, when we do something, we want to nail it. The drive towards perfection is a strong one, and we’re conditioned, through things like television and social media, to accept nothing less.

So when we write, we write when we feel like we’ve got something really, really important to spill, when we feel like shit and miserable and have a revelation that will help the rest of the world also feel like shit and miserable. Great literature is born from suffering, right? Right?

Wrong. Great writing is born from consistent practice (and maybe a spoonful of misery). Hemingway, whom we all love for his inner drama and simple, plain-as-day writing style, is said to have written 500 words a day, everyday. That’s not a lot, and not all of it found it’s way to print. The key is just to sit down and write. Spit something out and don’t edit it. Just get some words down and cull the crappy ones later.

The focus of writing is similar (similar, but definitely not the same) to meditation. Instead of focusing on a point of awareness, you’re focusing on a stream of thought, a storyline or a scene. You’re trying to broaden you awareness so your imagination can create something out of nothing. So no, writing isn’t meditation, but it’s productive and a strong tool to help you think through things you might be dealing with, or to distract you from them so you can return with a fresh perspective.

Get yourself into the habit of writing 20 minutes a day. Just sit down, write. If you feel like you don’t have anything to put out there, a 20 minute writing prompt can be just the thing to help you out of the funk of writer’s block. At some point, you’ll come up with a gem.

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