Dojo Wisdom for Writers Book Club – Lesson #5

Welcome to the Dojo Wisdom for Writers Book Club! Every Wednesday, we meet to discuss one of the lessons in Dojo Wisdom for Writers. We’ll go in order, so it’s easy enough to follow along. Read the lesson, then read the blog post, then comment in the comments! Do feel free to comment on each other’s comments. I’ll answer questions as quickly as I can.

Lesson #5. Meditate

This lesson discusses some different uses for meditation and how writers can meditate for a variety of reasons, such as clearing their minds and de-stressing.

Today, I want to talk about a related idea. This isn’t meditation per se, but a way of transition into and out of a writing mindset. For creative writers in particular, where you have to live in a fictional world while you’re writing, being able to “go there” on cue (or at least after a little concentrated effort) is crucial. Too often, we find ourselves waiting for the muse to inspire us before we start writing. But if you constantly wait until the time feels right, pretty soon twenty years have passed and you haven’t made it past chapter one.

So, using a form of meditation can help you transition into your writing mindset. One way you could do this is to create a visualization where you are relaxed and happy and ideas are flowing. Every time you get ready to write, you access this visualization and it helps put you in the proper frame of mind. For a long time, I used to light incense and actually do a few minutes of meditation. It was my signal that I was getting ready to start writing. Now I do something a little different. I key into the mood of what I’m working on (usually it’s a smartass mood, what can I say), and call up that kind of feeling. Once I have it, I’m ready to work. At this point, it usually takes me just a minute or two to find that feeling.

I find that having a specific transition exercise like this helps prevent procrastination. If it’s time to work on a project, I take a few breaths, find the feeling, and get started. Otherwise I might spend three hours reading blogs and posting on Facebook.

I also use a specific transition exercise to move out of writing. When it’s time to collect Jessica from school and give her my attention, I don’t want to be distracted by thinking about my current WIP. I tell my subconscious that it can work on the story while my conscious is busy but not to bother me while I’m with my daughter. Then I spend a minute or two “getting on the Jessica program” (as she calls it) where I deliberately and specifically tell myself that I am finished with my writing project for now.

What are the techniques you use to help you get into the right frame of mind to write? Share in the comments.


Dojo Wisdom for Writers, second edition, now available!
Catch a Falling Star (by Jessica Starre) and The Matchmaker Meets Her Match (by Jenny Jacobs), two of my favorite novels.

And don’t forget classes for writers—and more on writing at