Is there a connection between writing and being in the moment or having presence?
This question came to light recently while reading Sacred Hoops by legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson. The book explores Jackson’s philosophy about being in the moment (or having presence) and its effect on his team’s performance. He contends that players that experience presence act instantly to their surroundings, without thinking about what they are doing on the basketball court. The result is better performance and a greater awareness of their surroundings. Essentially, players that are present act rather than re-acting to situations.
To me, being present is not a new concept, and I have practiced it myself in the past and currently experience glimpses of presence daily. I would argue that being present is not something that you can master and must work on continuously. However, I have never thought about the connection between being in the present moment and writing. I consider writing to be both a skill and an art. Great writers are not only blessed with the art of writing, however, they also spend years continually developing their writing skills. But, just like in any other profession, writers experience peaks and valleys. Sometimes content flows freely and other times it is difficult to put a sentence together.
Anyone that writes on a regular basis has experienced writers block and accepts it as part of their craft. Every writer experiences times where they can’t seem to produce anything worthwhile. After some reflection, I noticed that when I personally experience instances of writers block, I was trying too hard and thinking too much about what I was trying to accomplish. It was only when I stepped back and cleared my mind that I was able to overcome my lack of productivity.
Along the same line of thought, I noticed that when I am very productive, I seldom think about what I am writing. It seems like content just flows without any effort. Therefore, I believe that writers are most productive when they experience instances of being mindful and present. Being present allows your mind to relax and “let things happen”. The result is the creation of mindful content that flows naturally without it being forced. A relaxed writer is a productive one!