Thursday, December 23, 2021

Mindful Writing Mantra and Essay [Excerpt]: Guest Post by Salem State University Student


Do Not Worry as You Wait

Rachel Pullino

Rachel Pullino is studying English with a focus in creative writing at Salem State University. Writing has always been her greatest passion. This is her first time publicly sharing her work outside of a classroom. This excerpt is from a longer piece for Mindful Writing, in which she created a writing mantra to aid in preventing mindless delay.
"'Waiting is checking both ways before you cross the street. Standing in line at your favorite ice cream shop because it is hot and sweaty, and you deserve a treat. Staring into the beams of the microwave as you heat up last night's leftovers and loathing the green numbers ticking down at an inhumanly slow pace. Waiting is knowing that it is okay to give yourself a break and let what may, come.
Waiting is the worst nightmare of many neurotic writers. We all want to be the best we can be at this very moment and no more or less. Success needs to bleed out of us like life does with each passing moment and if we run out of blood along the way, hook us up on an IV. However, it is okay to not worry while you wait. It is okay to acknowledge that time is necessary for greatness, and we are not mechanical. Do not worry as you wait. Greatness will come as it must and you will be you now and forevermore.'
-- Rachel Pullino, December 2, 2021, halfway through this project.
This particular thought process is what led me to the development of my mantra: Do not worry as you wait. Alongside the masterful work of Don Murray in “The Essential Delay,” my personal writing troubles were essential in the development of this mantra. Waiting has always felt torturous to me. It was not until I read “The Essential Delay” that I saw the pleasure in waiting for things. I am notoriously impatient and like everything to come immediately, yet something about Don Murray’s words spoke to me in a life-changing way. 

As a writer, like the majority of them, I have been plagued by the idea of writer’s block. There has always been an internal pressure on me to continually write great things of even greater quality, and I have drowned in it for the past 6 years. In these past 3 to 4 months, I have written more and written better than I ever have in my life. 

What I believe the cause of that is, is the fact that I have let myself take space in between projects now. Knowing I can and allowing myself to breathe in between poems, short stories, and essays, has shortened my waiting period by a ridiculous amount. In a way, prior to even creating this mantra, I have been telling it to myself for weeks. Now feels like the perfect time to finally share it.

It should not be difficult for writers to be aware of the fact that they are composed of flesh and ideas. 
However, in the writing process, especially with deadlines present, it can feel overwhelming to not be an endless writing machine. The periods between essays and stories and poems can feel lonely, overbearing, and unproductive, but the waiting period is far more beneficial than it seems. 

I have created the mantra, “do not worry as you wait,” to bring some ease to this space in between projects during the pre-writing stage. As writers, sometimes we forget that we are human and need space to take care of our minds as to not over-extend them. Ideas and concepts and full-fledged stories come to us in due time, and it is okay to let them find their way to you instead of seeking them out. 

In Don Murray’s, “The Essential Delay,” he writes in-depth about the waiting period and why it is not only necessary but beneficial. His work in this piece inspired my mantra, which in the short time of its official creation has already been heavily beneficial to me as not only a creative writer but a student during finals.

*calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh

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