Why Writing is like Yoga
We know how to become better writers. As with anything in life, the way to get better at writing is to practice.
That said, there’s two kinds of practice. There’s the competitively oriented kind where you run drills to improve, like soccer.
And then there’s the process-oriented kind, where you mindfully return to it over and over, for the sake of the experience itself, like yoga.
If you want to be a better writer, you have to practice like you practice yoga.
Write as You Are
No one day of yoga is to be compared to another day of yoga. Maybe yesterday you could reach your toes in your forward fold, but today you’re feeling tight and can’t make it.
There’s no point in trying to force yourself to be where you were yesterday—be the best you can be today.
In the same spirit, perhaps you crushed 3,000 words yesterday and loved every one, but today you can’t string three decent ones together. That’s okay. It’s all part of the process.
Practice the Moment
In yoga, you must be fully present in your body and focus on each move as you come to it. You don’t think about your to-do list, you don’t get competitive with the person next to you, you don’t worry about the next move.
If you do, it’s easy to lose balance, or your pose altogether.
Likewise, when you write, don’t worry about what you’ll come up with for the next chapter, or if you’re as good a writer as someone else. Just write for the sole sake of writing.
Put your energy into making whatever you’re writing the best it can be. The next step will flow from it.
Focus on Writing, Not Results
Sure, you may have started yoga because you want to be able to do a backbend. But you can’t come to class, focus only on your backbend, and expect to be there next month.
It’s a process. Stop worrying about the backbend. Just keep showing up and work to improve your flexibility.
The same goes for completing a novel. It’s going to take time, and fretting over getting to “the end” isn’t what’s going to get you there.
What’s going to complete that novel is continuing to show up. Keep working to add more words, and make it the best story you can. It will take time, but you’ll get there.
Do you practice writing? Are you able to stay present in the moment, or do you frequently find yourself getting distracted by the results or competitiveness? Let us know in the comments section.