Below is a description of the workshop on mindful writing I'll be presenting at the New England Association of Teachers of English Conference, October 19, 2018.
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Their Ability to Write is Always Present: Mindful Writing in the Classroom
A Buddhist mindfulness perspective can change how we think and feel about writing, reducing the anxiousness experienced around writing that comes from future-oriented thinking, and building a sense of wellness and balance. Much is lost with a misplaced present moment because students forfeit rewarding writing experience for stress, frustration, boredom, fear, and shortchanged creativity. In college writing courses, mindful writing highlights the present during writing and casts a new light on conventional notions of audience, invention, and revision while bringing forth overlooked parts of writing experience like internal talk, the nonverbal, and preconception. Every moment can become a prolific moment.
In this presentation, I first explain why people can become stuck in their writing by failing to notice their actual location in the present and instead mindlessly think of the future. I explain the causes of students’ struggle with writing from a mindfulness perspective: what mindfulness reveals about the causes of difficulty and disengagement. I provide participants with a five-minute hands-on activity that demonstrates the difference mindful perception can bring to their writing.
Next, I discuss the benefits of sticking with the present moment while writing and how a present-focused model can increase writing ease, enjoyment, calm, and well-being. Mindful awareness not only casts new light on conventional notions, chief among them audience, but it also brings forward the usually overlooked resources of internal talk and impermanence. I show examples of practical approaches to mindful writing that dovetail into traditional college writing curricula about the writing process and rhetoric.
Mindfulness in writing instruction need not be overly complex: teaching students a few simple ways to observe the moment during writing can make an immediate difference.
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