Author: Joy Kenward
Publisher: Leaping Hare Press
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
No book on writing can teach us how to write. It can, however, coach us to write better, steer us to think more effectively. And that is why they serve a purpose.
Writing my first book has been a long-held dream, one that I find myself deferring at the close of each year. I picked up this book in the hope that a mindfulness infused approach would help me put pen to paper and finally finish that manuscript.
I was certainly in a position to benefit. Hard-pressed as I am for time, I find myself routinely giving way to doubts about whether my writing is of value and whether the world cares.
When I first started reading, I wondered what mindfulness had to do with writing, but I was convinced soon enough.
The author builds a most effective case for mindfulness, arguing how the heightened level of awareness and attention to detail that listening to all our senses brings to our lives can only enhance our writing.
The mindfulness exercise where you notice your breathing and accept the thoughts that pass through your mind calmly and without judgement helped centre me on the task at hand.
The list-making technique and senses meditation, the walking meditation, the meditation where you write down your daydreams, and respect your tools etc are all designed to induce a sense of calm, where you are able to set aside all distractions, and focus on the task at hand – filling the blank paper with your thoughts and emotions.
The Joy of Mindful Writing benefits from the sense of calmness that the author creates. She seeks to inspire us to give life to our creative voice, to use the right words to create mood and atmosphere.
The author advocates that we buy books to help our writing. Dictionaries, books on English usage, grammar, punctuation, quotable quotes, rhyming, and the meaning of names, and a thesaurus. Except for the rhyming book and the book about the meanings of names, all the others have a place of pride in my collection.
She takes us through the elements of writing, from constructing the narrative, building the structure, to doing the right research. She tells us to imagine an ideal reader who will attentively ‘listen’ to our work. She adds that the intention for the book will emerge.
She brings out the difference between journaling where you express your own inner thoughts and feelings… as closely as possible and fiction where we must try to write opinions that are not your own, and to make them convincing.
Write about what you love, she says. It makes research more appealing.
Mindfulness, according to the author, allows greater access to our knowledge, experiences and emotions, enabling us to be original and creative.
The book raised within me the hope that it was not impossible for me to gain creative awareness.
The author, who suffered from dyslexia as a child, credits her parents and Mr Lewis, her class teacher when she was 10 years old, for gently and patiently enabling her to enjoy reading and writing.
At the end of it all I found it hard to believe that the author ever suffered from dyslexia. So fluid is her writing.
Reading this book helped me nudge myself out of my laziness and start writing again. I've written more in the last month than in the six months preceding that. Mindfulness has definitely helped me.
(I read this book through NetGalley.)