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.
For more information on this conference, go to
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.