The beginning of the school year is always a bit of a beast. Every committee wants to meet, every student needs a check in, every class needs prepping. Everything has a feeling of immediacy and import.
At the end of a week or two, you come up for fresh air and, if you're like me, you realize that daily practice has gotten a little out of whack--whoops, where did my morning writing go? whoops, I haven't been on my mat all week? whoops, I was writing lecture and mainlining coffee during meditation time!
Part of the craziness at the beginning of the semester is about figuring out what the new routine will be--where does writing take its place in relation to a slightly altered teaching schedule and new service commitments?
But I also think that there's something more basic going on, which is that the objects in our visual field shift. Suddenly, student papers and books for class are everywhere present. Suddenly, emails about search committees are in the inbox. Quite simply, there are new things competing for our attention alongside our writing materials.
I have a yoga teacher who is fond of saying, "where the attention goes, the energy flows." Anyone who has suddenly shifted attention to the feet during chair pose knows what she means.
Applying this to our writing lives, we might simply make the adjustment of keeping our writing projects visible-- a notebook with brainstorms open on the office desk. The manuscript on which we're doing final edits pulled up on the computer screen.
In some ways, this is the old gym bag/yoga mat by the front door trick. But more than just making it easy to get the writing done, making this important work part of the visible field helps writing to make its claims on our attention. Where the attention goes, the energy flows.
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