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WriteCast Episode 34: Taking Care of Yourself With Mindful Writing

© Walden University Writing Center 2017

 

 

[Introduction music]

 

 

BRITTANY: Welcome to WriteCast, a casual conversation for serious writers. I’m Brittany Kallman Arneson.

 

BETH: And, I’m Beth Nastachowski.

 

BRITTANY: In this episode, we’ll talk about mindful writing—a process approach to writing that can help writers develop a more comfortable, regular, and mindful writing practice. We’ll talk about what mindful writing is, how writers practice it, and how you can bring it into your writing practice.

 

BETH: Welcome today, everyone! We are thrilled to have our colleagues Max Philbrook and Jes Philbrook here with us today starting the new year off for us. We thought that it would be helpful to think a little bit more about our writing process. And, I know the new year is something where all of us are talking about new year’s resolutions and kind of starting anew and starting afresh, and I hope that maybe you’re thinking a little bit more about how you can approach your course work and your writing in sort of new ways and kind of incorporate new strategies, potentially. So, that’s our focus for today is we’re kind of presenting you with a new idea to help you with your writing process—mindful writing. And, Max and Jes are both writing instructors and coordinators with us here in the Writing Center, so you might have interacted with them before in paper reviews, on our social media, via chat, or in a webinar, and they’re going to help talk to us about mindful writing—about what it is and kind of how it can be useful for Walden students. Welcome, Max and Jes to WriteCast.

 

MAX: Thank you. It’s really, really great to be here.

 

JES: Yeah, thank you so much.

 

BRITTANY: So, a few months ago, we learned about mindful writing from you guys in presentation you gave to the Writing Center staff. And, we’re so glad that we’ll get to talk a little bit more about that writing approach with the rest of the Walden community today; it’s something we felt people would really benefit from because we really benefitted from it as a staff. So, I’m hoping that to just get us started one of you could jump in and sort of define mindful writing for us. What is it?

 

MAX: Go ahead Jes.

 

JES: Okay. So, mindful writing comes from a mindfulness practice. And, mindfulness is based on the idea that you pay attention on purpose in the current moment. So, a lot of mindfulness is practiced through things like breathing exercises, or maybe yoga, occasionally through meditation. Things like that where you’re focus is turned to the body, and you look at the body and your comfort and your flexibility and your stress level, your anxiety level, and try and get yourself into a comfortable equilibrium. So, mindful writing kind of takes that mindfulness practice and creates a system where writers can embrace a full and flexible writing process while also paying attention to the body and their own comfort. It’s really helpful for people who have to write a lot like myself as a writing instructor, but also when I was in graduate school: I was working on papers; I was working on seminar papers, discussion posts. So, we thought this would be really useful for Walden students who are balancing a lot in their work life, their personal life, and their school life. So, mindful writing, then, is based on this idea of mindfulness, and it’s practiced through brief daily sessions where you set out about 30 minutes to 2 hours every day to write and work on a project. So, instead of spending 1 whole day writing all of your papers, it would be scheduling an hour or two every night to work on an assignment over time and spending time prewriting, writing, revising, editing, that kind of stuff.

 

MAX: Yeah, it’s very difficult to be comfortable and to take care of your body and be kind to yourself if you’re sitting in one place typing furiously for hours upon hours on end, which is why I think the idea of the brief daily session is so important to mindful writing. It just, it allows you to really focus/hone in on a very specific intention and get some really good quality work done in that brief session that you have for the day. So, it might seem like, “Oh, I need to put 8 hours of writing in today, so I can finish this paper.” But, really, how many of those 8 hours are you going to be actually doing productive writing? And, mindful writing allows you to focus on that intention that you have and complete writing with focus and intention.

 

BETH: So, in your definition, or your description, of mindful writing, one of the things you referred to a couple of times was this idea of a brief daily session. So, I wondered if you could kind of paint a picture for our listeners of what that is and kind of what that brief daily session looks like.

 

MAX: Absolutely. And, it’s such a great question. And, basically, the brief daily session is the building block of mindful writing. It’s the amount of time that you are actually sitting down and doing the writing practice. And, so, the brief daily session is a time in your day when you set aside all of your other distractions, which can be very difficult, especially, we know Walden students and writers often are juggling lots of things. But, it’s really important to be able to work with intention, and brief daily session consists of four—I’d say equally important—stages, and the first one is prepare. So, you’re preparing to write, and you do that by preparing your materials; you prepare your body; you prepare your work space. And then, you move into the writing portion. And this is… writing in mindful writing can look like a lot of different things. It doesn’t mean polished writing that you can suddenly turn into an article or turn into a discussion board post. No, it can be taking notes. It can be writing. It can be freewriting. It can be reading a journal article and annotating, anything like that. And, you are doing this with intention and consistently for your 15 minutes that you’ve set aside or your 30 minutes that you’ve set aside—whatever you have at that moment. And you just write. That’s all you do, and you do it nonjudgmentally. Try to put that inner editor aside or that critic that’s telling you, “Oh, delete that! Delete that!” It’s not productive to delete. Instead, you want you want to be writing for that whole time. And number three I think is very important, and that’s to pause. So, that’s to stop writing. Take a break. You’re writing; you’re doing good work for those 15 minutes (or however long you’ve set aside). And then, it’s time to stop. Check in. Make sure your body is still in a comfortable place. So, it’s something that we call comfort breaks. You take a comfort break. You check back in. You make sure you’re ready to write again. And, then, there’s a little 3.5 here—so it’s the third and a half stage, and that’s to repeat. So, you’ve set aside a chunk of time during your day, but it’s important to kind of chunk that up and make sure that you’re not just blazing through and writing that whole time. So, once you write and then pause and return to your body and become comfortable again, then you can go back and you can write for another period of time. And once you’ve written, paused, and repeated, the final step—once your writing for the day is over—is to reflect and think about what you’ve done, and you can be proud of the writing you’ve completed because no matter how long you’ve written, no matter what you produce that day, guess what? You wrote, and you can’t, that can’t be taken away from you. It’s important to be proud of that writing that you’ve done and prepare yourself… Look and see what you’ve done and prepare yourself for starting writing again tomorrow. ‘Cause that’s the key of mindful writing and the brief daily session—is leave, is leaving it today with the intention that you’re going to come back to it tomorrow.

 

JES: Yeah, so some tips for doing this brief daily session, I’d say at the prepare stage it’s kind of a two-prong approach. So, one part of preparation is finding a project to work on and deciding, “All right, I have 1 hour or 2 hours to work on this today,” and then setting a goal. Okay so, “I have 2 hours. In 2 hours I can’t write an entire dissertation chapter as much as I wish I could, but maybe in 2 hours I could review two articles and find a place for them in my literature review. Or, maybe I could review my notes from my last writing session and build on my outline. Or, maybe it’s time to just dig into the research and spend 2 hours on the library website.” So, kind of setting your intention for what you can reasonably do in the time you have allowed is part of preparation. But, then the other part of that is getting your body comfortable. So, I like to spend just 5 minutes, like, doing a few stretches. I do yoga a little bit, but I’m not an expert by any means, but I’ll do some toe touches. I’ll do some, some bending around. I’ll do a couple laps around the house to kind of get my heart rate down. And, I’ll sit in my chair and just breath for a minute and try and cleanse my mind and let any negative self-talk go away and kind of build myself up like, “Hey, you can do this!” [laughter] As cheesy as that sounds, that’s part of preparation—getting your mind and your body ready. And then another tip would be to set a timer. So, if you know, “You know, I have… I have things that I want to do with my family tonight, so I really need to be done with my writing by 7:00.” And, maybe you start at 6:00. Set a timer for 7:00, and when that timer goes off, you’re done. You’ve done your writing for the day however much you’ve accomplished, and whatever is left, you can get to tomorrow. So, set that timer for the end of your writing session, but then also to remind you to pause. I like to set a timer on my phone for every 20 minutes, and then when the timer goes off, I, like, straighten my back and fix my posture. Maybe every other time I get up and walk around the room and refill my water glass, stretch a little bit, and then sit back down. And, that keeps me from accidentally just sitting in my chair for hours while the time goes by and I’m surfing social media instead of writing, and it keeps you on track and focused. And then, too, when you get to the reflect part, a good idea there is to set intentions for tomorrow. So, for whatever you wanted to do today but didn’t get to, you can set that as part of your goal tomorrow.

 

MAX: Yeah, so, a brief daily session consists of four parts: 1) prepare, 2) write, 3) pause, and 4) reflect.

 

BETH: Jes, I was just thinking, too, about how that approach really helps break down what can seem like a really long and arduous writing process into sort of these steps that you can check off a little bit more, right? I’m the type of person that likes lists and likes to be able to check things off my list. And, so, I think that this concept really helps makes a writing process that really doesn’t have a lot of check-off points, you know, creates some sort of artificial check-off point to help me, to sort of propel me through that process. Does that make sense?

 

JES: Yes, absolutely. It really does help with that—it gives you a checklist that’s manageable every day.

 

MAX: Yes, and I think part of being mindful is being mindful of your emotions, too. And, I think what you described, Beth, is a way to be kind to yourself and as a way to give yourself that reward of completing something and doing that every day. I think that can be a very important motivating factor in creating a writing practice that you can sustain over a long period of time that it takes to write a dissertation, or, you know, even write a course paper for that matter.

 

BRITTANY: The think that I really love about this is, I mean it really feels revolutionary, and it’s sad that that’s true, but I think that we’ve sort of created this narrative for ourselves about grad school that it’s a time when you sort of neglect self-care, right?

 

BETH: Yeah.

 

BRITTANY: You spend, you know, all night in the library, like, hammering stuff out or all night, you know, sitting at your desk hammering stuff out, and you just have to power through. You know, there’s these kinds of stories that we tell ourselves about, about higher education and particularly about completing advance degrees where it’s like, “You’re just gonna have to suffer, suffer, suffer until it’s over.” And this feels so different from that, and I’m curious if you guys can talk a little bit about… How did you learn about this? I mean, I’m not hearing this very much so, do you have like mindfulness guru who taught you how to do mindful writing?

 

[Laughter]

 

JES: Yeah. We kind of do. Her name’s Donna Strickland. We both got really lucky. Max and I are both pursuing our PhDs at the University of Missouri, and she’s faculty there in the English department and is both of our advisors. So, we’ve both had the pleasure of working with someone who has a very different narrative for what it looks like to write your dissertation, to write your graduate seminar papers and your assignments. And, she has done research and work on mindful writing, and it was what helped her finish her first book for publication.

 

BRITTANY: Wow.

 

JES: And she learned about it from Robert Boice, who is the author of two books about writing practice for faculty. The one that we’ve read is How Writers Journey to Comfort and Fluency, and it’s all about this practice about paying attention to the body, embracing this full and flexible writing practice and working on your writing every day in these brief daily sessions instead of trying to binge and, for example, say like, “Oh, I’m going to write my whole book over the summer.” That’s going to be extremely painful, so it’s more of this stretched-out process. So, she really introduced us to it in advising sessions, but then also through a course that she taught in the summer and in the semester that I took and then through some webinars as well.

 

MAX: Yeah, and Donna also conducts seminars on mindful writing where she will either do a day-long program or a weekend retreat or something like that, and people will come from all over the country to partake in a mindful writing session to kind of learn some of these practices and to help inform their writing process, also. So it’s… I agree with you, Brittany, it’s sad that that it seems so revolutionary to, you know, to take care of yourself while writing, but it’s one of those things that I think shouldn’t be, but I think can be quite revolutionary when you can harness that and if it’s something that can develop a practice for. So, yes, thank you, Donna Strickland, for introducing that to us, and congratulations on finishing that book using mindful practices in your writing.

 

BETH: So, it sounds like this is something/mindful writing was something you haven’t always been practicing. Is that accurate?

 

MAX: Yes.

 

JES: Yes.

 

[Laughter]

 

MAX: That is accurate.

 

BETH: So, what did your writing look like before you started, you know, with mindful writing?

 

MAX: I was a strong believer in the idea of being in the flow, or, you know, finding that magical mindset where the words would just flow out of me. I was usually sitting around doing what I call, “dinking” [laughter] on my document, which usually meant doing research or surfing the internet, or, you know, writing a letter to someone. But, really it was just procrastination, and then usually the flow would happen, or I would get in the zone… maybe that’s a better way to say it. I would get in the zone when the clock hit midnight and my paper was due at 8:00 in the morning or something like that. And, so it was an adrenalin-fueled writing process. And, it was a fear-inducing and a really stress-inducing writing process where I knew if I didn’t produce the writing I was working on, there would be negative consequences. And, so it was something that… and, you know, I’ll be honest, it felt good in the moment, it felt, to produce those pages and just fly and just watch my fingers blur. [Laughter] It felt good, and then I would turn in whatever I was working on, and I knew it wasn’t the best quality. I knew it wasn’t the best work because I wouldn’t have time to revise.

 

BETH and BRITTANY: [Agreeing]

 

MAX: I wouldn’t have time to have a second reader take a look at it and give me feedback or anything like that, but it would be done. But, then I would turn it in, and then the crash happened, and then I would have to sleep ‘cause I hadn’t slept for days.

 

BETH: [Agreeing]

 

JES: [Laughing]

 

MAX: And, so, you know, and I hadn’t been eating well, and I had been caffeinated like crazy, and so all of these things were really doing damage and were harmful to my body. That was kind of the writing process that I undertook. And, Jes, maybe you will describe it more specifically as binge writing?

 

JES: Yeah. My writing practice isn’t so different from Max’s. Though I think I would spread it out over a few more days than he did. So, in undergraduate, I was a little bit of a procrastinator in a way, like I would do my research, and I always thought that was really fun. But, then I would have all these notes and this outline and all this stuff compiled and I would always wait until, like, the night before the paper was due and then write my paper. And, usually, that resulted in finishing it about 4:00 in the morning—kind of what Max described as “getting in the flow.” And, you know, what I would complete would be good, and I would turn it in, and it would be fine.

 

BRITTANY: [Agreeing]

 

JES: But, then the crash would happen for me, too, and I’d have to sleep, like, the whole week after finals. And, then in graduate school, when the demands of coursework are so much more significant, similar practices carried over. So, in my master’s degree, you know, you’re taking two or three seminars at a time and trying to write two or three 20-page papers that are due in finals week. And, I would do my research beforehand, but then I wouldn’t start writing until, you know, the week or two before. And, I’d end up having a lot of really late nights where I don’t see my friends or I can’t answer the phone call from my mom. Or, you know, or I’m eating out every night instead of cooking, which I love to do. So, my writing practices really got in the way, I think, of my comfort and happiness during those few weeks of writing. And, then when I decided to start my PhD, I already knew, like, “I don’t want my life to be like that.”

 

MAX: [Agreeing]

 

JES: And, “I want to find an alternate.” And, so I was really fortunate when I met Donna right away as a new graduate student because she proposed this whole new way of approaching it. And, I started practicing that about six years ago when I started my PhD and my course work. And, I found it was a lot more comfortable. The years I was pursuing my PhD felt a lot more manageable than my years I was getting my master’s even though I had a lot more work to do because I did a little bit every day.

 

MAX: And, so, that’s kind of like what our writing practices have looked like. Beth and Brittany, do you have any similar experiences? Or, can you compare your writing practices to that?

 

BRITTANY: Oh goodness… Um… yes… in short, [laughing ] I, especially when you were describing your kind of binge writing practice or waiting to get in to the flow or the zone, Max, that just is me to a T. And, I have learned not very much; I’ll be honest. Over time I have gotten a little bit better at that—better at, you know, spreading the work out over time as I’ve gotten older. Certainly I think part of it had to do with, you know, in undergrad, there was just more open time for the work to bleed into.

 

MAX: [agreeing]

 

BRITTANY: And, so it did kind of do that, but I was definitely one to pull all-nighters and understand that, that rush, and that it is a good feeling, bizarrely. It’s like an addiction almost, I think, where you’re like, “Oh, this feels so great; I’m so brilliant.”

 

JES: [Agreeing]

 

BRITTANY: You know, and, like, the adrenalin’s flowing and you just feel like, you know, killing it, and, you know, you are under this deadline, and there’s a sort of rush attached to that. But, it’s like you said, there’s no chance to refine and not opportunity to have anybody else look at your work, and so everything you’re turning in is sort of that first initial draft. And, maybe it’s really strong first draft, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best writing that you could produce. And, so I think that habit for me has really hindered my ability to kind of fulfill that level of writing that I could achieve if I were to adopt some of these, these mindful writing practices, so I’m excited to be learning more about this just to sort of apply to my own practice. Now, I’m not doing any really academic writing right now, but I definitely think—and we’ve talked about this as a team; I know you guys have talked to us about how we can apply this to our teaching work and also some of the sort of the writing that I do for fun on the side—I’m excited to see how I could sort of give up that habit of [laughing] waiting around ‘til inspiration strikes, and, you know, just kind of show up and see what happens if I plug away over time. So, yeah.

 

BETH: Yeah, I think for me, you know, this idea of mindful writing, or, I guess, smaller sessions of writing and taking that writing process throughout a longer period of time is something I used a lot in grad school. I was that person who had her draft done [laughing] before the deadline. I remember…

 

BRITTANY: [laughing] No surprise.

 

BETH: …having lots of time for revision for my master’s thesis. And, the thing is, though, there is a real distinction between getting things done before deadlines and how you get those things done before deadlines, actually.

 

MAX: Yes.

 

BETH: And, that’s what I’ve been thinking about because it’s not just about getting it done before the deadline, but one think you said, Jes, was making sure that your experience as you’re writing while you’re doing that is also worthwhile.

 

JES: Yeah.

 

MAX: [agreeing]

 

BETH: You’re not putting too much stress on yourself, and I do think that I tend to have, you know, longer stretches of writing even though they were in an effort to get it done before that deadline. I didn’t focus on the smaller breaks quite as much, and I think that’s what I really benefited from in these discussions we’ve been having—is thinking in those shorter timeframes. And, I just absolutely love the idea of setting a timer and talking about giving yourself breaks so that you’re really focusing during that time. Yeah, so I think this has been really beneficial.

 

BRITTANY: So, we’re talking about how mindful writing will benefit the four of us, but that’s not really the purpose of this podcast episode. We really want to talk about how it can apply to Walden students, and I’m excited to talk more about that, as well, because we know you, our listeners, are busy people juggling a lot of different things. You, many of you work full time. You have families. You’ve got, you know, school. You’ve got other responsibilities. Maybe you volunteer in your community. It’s a lot. And, we know from working with you over the years that this feels overwhelming, and you have a lot going on. So, Max and Jes, could you guys talk a little bit more about how mindful writing might be more applicable to Walden students, specifically?

 

JES: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, this is really, yeah, what we hope to share is ways that we can apply this for Walden students. Students are fitting writing in the midst of a really busy life with a lot things going on. So, what’s nice about mindful writing is that it doesn’t require you to take a whole day, for example, to write all day. You don’t have to find an 8-hour chunk of time where you’re like, “All right, this is when I’m going to do my writing; I’m going to get all of my coursework done in these 8 hours.” You know, that works for some people, but with a busy life, in an 8-hour chunk of time, things come up, you know? Your cat gets sick or your kid needs to go to soccer or your spouse needs to get picked up from work or your business calls and they need you to come in. And, it’s hard with a full life to schedule out such a large chunk of time. So, what we’re imagining is that this mindful writing approach could work really well for Walden students who might not have such large chunks of time to schedule out, but could afford to schedule out an hour in the morning and maybe another hour at night or, you know, 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours at night—however much time you need to depending on, you know, where you are in your program and how many courses you’re taking. Of course it varies based upon what your writing demand is. But, that’s one way we think this could be applicable is that it doesn’t require that big chunk of time, but those smaller pieces. Max, do you want to talk about other ways?

 

MAX: I do. I think another way that this is especially applicable to Walden students, and busy people in general who have a lot of stressful elements to their life, is when you take on a degree program or an additional course this term or something like that, it’s best if we cannot add another stressor. And, I think making writing an enjoyable practice… or, maybe that’s not possible, so I’m going to say that in a different way: The goal with mindful writing is to make it so writing does not add additional stress to your life. And, I think that that’s very important. I think that’s a way that you can find yourself into a regular writing practice is that if you don’t dread the thing you’re going to do. And, maybe you’ve had this experience where you sit down in front of your keyboard, and that feeling in your stomach happens—that kind of ringing ball of energy in your stomach, and you don’t want to be there anymore. And, there’s almost anything you’d almost rather be doing than sitting down and writing because the stakes are so high. With mindful writing, with brief daily sessions, with taking care of yourself, and doing everything you can to relieve stress, and to reduce the amount of stress that writing introduces, I think you’re more likely to want to be able to sit down, and you won’t have those aversions to writing. I’d also [laughs], the, uh, the older I get, the more importance I see in taking care of my body. It turned out I’m not invincible.

 

BETH and JES: [Laughing]

 

BETH: Dang it! [Laughing]

 

MAX: I know. I was hoping that I was going to break the stretch of non-in… okay…

 

JES: [Laughing]

 

MAX: Okay, so it turns out that I’m actually not invincible, and I need to be aware of my body and take care of my body, and I can’t sit and be hunched over a computer desk for 8 hours at a time. And, so, I think that’s another reason that Walden students can really benefit, or that Walden students, specifically, can find some usefulness out of mindful writing is because we tend to be a little bit older. We tend to be coming back for an advance degree. We’ve already achieved in our profession. Maybe we have a few more years under our belts, and I think it’s that much more important to take care of our body and stretch those muscles and to be aware of the mind and body. So, I think that’s another reason that Walden students, specifically, even though it might not seem like they don’t have time for mindful writing or that, maybe, they just want to get it over with and binge it out no matter the cost; I think it’s important to keep this kind of process in mind.

 

JES: Yeah, I think that’s helpful, Max. And, I guess one more thing that I would add is that doing mindful writing allows you to practice this more full writing process from prewriting and research to outlining to drafting, revising, editing because if you’re working on a little bit of it every day, you might be able to spend Monday researching and Tuesday outlining and Wednesday drafting. So, for those Walden students who want to use, for example, the Writing Center’s paper review services, it can really help to use mindful writing to get a draft done a little bit early and send it in and then have that time next day to revise. Because if you just spend 8 hours on a Saturday writing your papers, you never have time for that. So, it can help you to use the resources that are available here at Walden for you on a more regular basis.

 

MAX: And, I got one more to add.

 

BETH: Great.

 

MAX: The other part of mindful writing that I think is so helpful for Walden students that it has a broad definition of what writing is. And, so, maybe you’re… during your commute, maybe you’re listening to this podcast on a train right now. But, maybe that’s that hour during your day. Maybe that’s when you can do your mindful writing. And, it doesn’t mean that you have to bring your laptop and tap away at your keyboard, but if you’re annotating, if you’re reading an article and you’re annotating, or you’re taking some notes, or maybe, you know, maybe you’re reading an article and you are using some kind of citation software to help organize that, can also be considered writing. And, I think that mindful writing, since you are returning to it, since you can put that stuff into action tomorrow or the next day, I think that you can consider that mindful writing, also. So, it’s all so versatile. It allows for a broad definition of writing and writing in different contexts as long as you keep in mind that, you know, that you have to have the intention/do what you say you’re going to do, and then follow through and do it with some focus.

 

BETH: So, I think you’ve already kind of started to sort of touch on this, Max, my last question, or the next question, was gonna be about how Walden students can actually kind of get started, what tips you have, or what recommendations you guys have about just actually starting a mindful writing practice since we all believe in you now, and we’re all converted, we’re all converted into this idea of mindful writing. Where would you suggest Walden students start?

 

MAX: That’s such a great question. And, Beth, I think that’s really the key to doing it is… I mean, it might take some time up front to kind of put yourself in a position to be able to set aside time for brief daily sessions. But, once the framework is there, it hopefully becomes easier to, to continue, and so, I guess I’ll start with the most simple, but also maybe the hardest is finding space and time with which to write. Maybe, this can be hard because of kids and pets and all, and jobs and all these things; there’s a lot competing for our attention. But, if you can find a space—and maybe you have to leave your house or your home for this, and that’s okay—but, find a space and a time where you can commit those minutes to writing. And, whatever that looks like for you, I think that that is maybe the most important step to finding yourself in that practice. Jes?

 

JES: Yeah, so, I think with that, yeah, at a starting point, I would recommend just starting with just 30 minutes a day. And, find a time when you can commit to 30 minutes a day, and if you find that you can do that, but it’s not quite enough time to get everything done that you need to, then see if the next week you can up that to 60. And, if that’s, if you still need a little bit more, the next week, up it to 90. And, so I’d say start small, and go from there. The other thing I would recommend is when you’re carving out this time, to write every day, only do 5 or 6 days a week. Mindful writing is really meant to be flexible, accommodating, and comfortable, so don’t feel like you need to do it every single day. Feel free to pick a day or two a week when you aren’t going to do your writing. Consider that your mental break. So, be kind to yourself and keep that understanding of writing open. What else do you have, Max?

 

MAX: I think the main takeaway from what you were just saying, Jes, is be kind to yourself. If you miss a day, that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. You know that with your regular practice, you are going to be back tomorrow. And, so, make sure that you are kind to yourself. Make sure that you celebrate your victories and that you appreciate the work you’re doing and that you remember that the 15 minutes a day you are mindfully writing, that’s leading to something really special. You are earning a degree at a great institution with the idea of positively influencing social change. And, that’s amazing. So, don’t lose sight of that either—that even though you are in the thick of it, 15 minutes a day times 365 times however many years it takes that that is, that you’re working toward something really great and special. And, on a practical matter, one of the first steps—buy yourself a timer.

 

BETH and JES: [Laughing]

 

JES: One more tip that I would offer as well is that we’re gonna do another episode where we lead you through a brief daily session, so if you wanna give this a try, tune in next time, and join us for a brief daily session where we walk you through a period of time where you can write.

 

BETH: Well, thank you so much, Max and Jes, for joining us today. This has been just a wonderful conversation. And, I know Brittany and I have really benefitted from hearing about mindful writing, and I know our students will, too.

 

BRITTANY: Yeah, thanks so much, guys. We really appreciate you being with us.

 

MAX: Thank you so much.

 

JES: Thank you.

 

BRITTANY: So, I also want to remind our listeners to tune in again next time for another episode about mindful writing with Max and Jes. We will have them back on WriteCast, and they’re gonna actually be leading us through a session a brief daily session using mindful writing techniques that they described today. Tune if for that one, and be sure that you bring some writing to work on because it’s going to be sort of a new thing for us. We’re gonna do a practical podcast where we have you pause and work on your writing and then come back. So, have something ready, something you’re working on for your course, or something else that you’re writing. And, finally, I want to thank you, our listeners, for being with us today. As always, we are very grateful for you and for your time that you spend listening to our podcast, so take care, and we’ll see you next time.

   

[Music]

 

BRITTANY: WriteCast is a production of the Walden University Writing Center. This episode was produced by me, Brittany Kallman Arneson; my co-host, Beth Nastachowski; and our colleague, Anne Shiell.