Habit 3: Writing From the Heart

There is a vast difference between what you can get from the mind and what you achieve from the heart. The mind is limited; the heart is unlimited. So, to do your best writing, it is important to write from that truest place inside your soul. Here are 10 steps towards writing from the heart: • Meditate regularly every day, at least 5 minutes first thing in the morning, and again before you write. Simply focus your attention on your heart in the center of your chest. Try to listen to your heartbeat. If any thoughts enter the mind, just return your attention to your heart. • Keep an area of your house pure and clean in which to meditate. Keep the room well-aired. You can bring in fragrances such as incense, something from nature that inspires you such as a fresh flower, and perhaps a picture of something meaningful to you. Keep a separate area for writing, and introduce similar sources of purity and inspiration into your area. • Writing from the heart means being constantly aware of one’s surroundings. This is what Buddhists call mindfulness. It will not only bring you a fuller experience of life, but also lead to deeper and authentic writing. Get into the habit of simply observing the world – people, nature, each of your own senses, and your own feelings. • When you are used to observing your surroundings, you will naturally start to accept things as they are. You may see the same scenes day in and day out. The mind may tire of them, but if you observe from the heart, you will find new beauty and inspiration each time. • Observation and acceptance naturally engender love, gratitude and joy. These are invaluable keys to meaningful and quality writing. Conveying these experiences through words will help others to see beauty and inspiration in their own lives. • Protect that effort you have made to see and feel things in a positive way. Unconstructive criticism, anger, and jealousy can thwart your inspiration and prevent you writing from the heart, whether they come from yourself or from other people. Try to avoid encountering these negative forces. If you cannot avoid them, try not to pay attention to them. • When you are in the habit of observing your surroundings, allow words to come to you, without the intention of writing them down. When words are not written down, they have more freedom. Practice describing the things you see. Look for depth not just the surface. • Carry a notebook with you everywhere. When a sequence of words comes to you and thrills your heart, write it down. Let more words grow around it. • Do not let the mind plan a finished product. Let the writing blossom and become what it wants to be. This is where your heart and intuition come in. That way your writing will have its own authenticity and integrity, and the result will be more valuable. • Trust the creative process that comes from the heart, but also use the mind to polish and revise your writing. Sometimes that which comes from the heart can benefit from a little clarification. By taking these steps, you will be writing from the heart. Not only will you be doing the best kind of writing, you will also enjoy your writing and feel connected to it. Irene S. Roth