It’s a bit of a cliche to say that writing is like meditation. You may not get much benefit from it right away. It’s hard to sit still for it. Your mind itches, or else it’s numb. You don’t want to feel pretentious (“I meditate”, “I write”). And when do you find the time?
Stephen King explores the connection between meditation and writing in “On Writing“. “In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time each night and following the same ritual as you go.” “Before beginning to write, I’ll take a moment to call up an image of the place, drawing from my memory and filling my. mind’s eye, an eye whose vision grows sharper the more it is used. I call it a mental eye because that’s the phrase with which we’re all familiar, but what I actually want to do is open all my senses.”
On Writing is also a book about habits. And what is meditation, but a habit? Writing, it is hard to believe, is too. “This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up, chomping on his cigar and making his magic.”
Ultimately, his prescription for writing is simple: “read a lot, write a lot”.
What it takes to get to this meditative place? Routine and rigor – the schedule that piques the muse. But also relentlessness. “Reading at meals is considered rude in polite society, but if you succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyways.”