European poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) pursued a life of meaning through his writing. He studied with the greatest minds of the 20th century, from Rodin to Lou Andreas-Salomé, not only to learn how to write better, but to learn how to think, feel, and live like an artist.
As a writing instructor, too, I have been using one of the most instructive tenets of yoga, “finding freedom within the form,” as a way to teach my students how to find their voices as writers while composing formulaic papers. Not surprisingly then, I do believe that practicing yoga can help us become better writers who are mindful of intentions, goals, choices, as well as the writing process.
The idea of writing every single day seems to be the recipe for most successful writers. After all, consistent practice is indispensable when it comes to improving writing skills. The key here is to create a ritual that allows you to stay motivated and to sustain your writing practice.
Meditating on why you are writing in the first place takes you one step closer to your goal of writing better. Shifting your perspective from I have to to I want to because… can help you to write with a purpose, to find your voice as a writer, and to focus better.
As part of this series, every month I’ll be compiling and posting about the techniques and strategies that I incorporate into my teaching and that I myself use as a writer. Of course, we need to acknowledge the fact that better here is an ambiguous adjective; what does it mean to be a better writer?
“…But every once in a while, I’ll read a book that glorifies problematic relationship behaviors such as manipulation or even stalking. I don’t ever want to write a book that encourages women to seek out unhealthy, or even dangerous, relationships, so I focus on creating relationships that are healthy.”