Writing in the moment
I was going through my old journals and discovered that my best writing was when I was writing ‘in the moment.’ I was more aware of the my surroundings, was using the senses to feel and was expressing what was going through my mind at the moment. As a result, my writing was much more engaging.
“The water of the lake is reflecting the blue of the sky. A boat with orange mast is creating ripples on the surface which are travelling all the way to the shore. I am sitting in the back seat of my car which is my sanctuary for the week. I have taken a week off from work to rejuvenate after a very busy winter months both at home and at work. Parked at a secluded spot, I am soaking the sun and taking in the silent beauty of the Black Mountain and Lake Burley Griffin. In front of me is a bare tree with an occasional leave at the branchends. Its trunk is divided into several branches and I have been tracing its curves and bends for some time now. I can draw it in the sketchbook I have brought with me, I should, but I don’t. I feel tired and exhausted. Not physically, but mentally. Emotional roller-coaster ride has taken its toll. Everything demands my time. Work, home, my own hobbies. Drawing a tree will take time, even if it doesn’t have any leaves. And time is something I don’t have. Even though I have five days off work, I have so much to fit in them. A raven comes and sit on a branch making the picture complete. I reach for the pencil.”
‘Writing in the moment’ is like practicing mindfulness. It is a way of being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling, without interpretation or judgment. You can start with simple words like ‘I am…” and off you go. You will not feel stuck because you are writing what you are seeing and feeling at that very moment. Add to it your sense of smell, sound, and touch and your writing will bring your readers into the moment with you.
“I am in heaven, surrounded by rows and rows of old books, music and soft chatter of people in the coffee shop. A friend reminded me of it last week and I decided to spend the day here, writing. Beyond Q is a second-hand bookshop, tucked in a local shopping center. You can easily miss it as it is one flight of stairs down from ground level. As soon as you enter you are hit with the smell of books, the kind which is faintly mixed with dirt. The front counter has a number of tiny-trinkets, you know the painted bookmarks, small boxes, things I like to hold in my hands just to feel their rich texture. I have been here once before, to buy books, but didn’t think of it as a potential place to write. I wonder why. The place has everything – old table and chairs tucked away in corners that can hide you from the view of the lady at the counter and also the new customers, all kind of books for constant inspiration and sweet aroma of coffee. I should come here regularly.”
You can turn a simple excursion into a writing exercise, and when you do that you will enjoy simple things much more and remember them more vividly than you would have.
“It is half-passed two on a balmy Sunday afternoon and we walk from Fiona’s place to the Murrumbidgee river to see the tiny waterfall about 400 meters away. Of all the days, I choose sandals to wear to come to a country property. I borrow a hat from Fiona but there is no way I can borrow her shoes. No one has as small feet as I. The stones and pine-needles at the riverbed looked threatening but there is no way I am going to miss the opportunity to see the waterfall. So off I went.
The grass on the front lawn is soft and cushioning but as soon as we pass the side gate the ground becomes brittle and broken. We slide through the wires of a fence, which is apparently erected to keep the sheep away from the river. It doesn’t seems to be working because we find the riverbed littered with sheep pooh. Walking carefully between the rocks I yell to Fiona who is way ahead of me walking comfortably in her gum shoes, “At some point the river must have been up to here?” “Oh yes, every year, water comes up to here when it rains.” We pass the stones of all shapes and sizes and even colours, soft pink ones with red line and tough grey ones with white liens.
The air started getting heavier, smelling of mist and pine. We hear the waterfall before we see it. Theresa reached there first followed by Moira and for a while we stand still, each one of us poised on a different rock, taking in the little miracle of nature. Gushing muddy Murrumbidgee river falling down just a meter and half, yet so mesmerizing, so beautiful, so loud, drowning every other sound. If you look at running water it always seems like one continuous thing yet it is new water each time. The shape it makes against the rock is always the same. Yet it is new water. It is continuously hammering down, endlessly. If I come here tomorrow, it will still be here, going exactly like this. Even in a month, a year, may be several year.
Each one of us find spot to get comfortable and to write in the moment. The sun is shining through the pine needles which are not able to provide much of a shade, but the dried bulk of them on the floor definitely provides the cushion to sit on. I pick one and break it between my fingers. Dry and brittle, it breaks easily. The river water looked darker and colder when clouds covered the sun, now it looks lighter and little warmer. Little black ants are walking on my bag. Some have even gone inside in search of food. I should have zipped it. They are so fast. A white bird swoops down the river for a drink.
When I finish, I take off my sandals and dip my aching feet in the water. The warm liquid touches the sore bits and takes way the weariness. For a moment I am one with the nature.”
Recently I started using the technique to write about my day in my daily journal. It has made my journal come alive.
I suggest you give it a go. Any time you feel procrastinating or feel stuck, try writing ‘in the moment.’ Just jot down “I am…” or “It is half passed…” and describe where you are and what is going through your mind. And when you are done, share some of your writing here. I would love to hear from you.