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Village View
A Publication of The Village Writing School
   Issue 14                                 October 8, 2013
Writers Night Out Cancelled!!
This week's Thursday Writer's Night Out will be cancelled so that some of us can participate in the Ozark Creative Writers' Conference.  We will resume NEXT WEEK with a showing of the movie Vantage Point.  
Coming October 19
Mindful Writing
Elizabeth Diane Newell-Mack

The term “mindfulness” is everywhere right now. Go to your local bookstore, and you’ll find books on mindful living, mindful eating, mindful exercise, mindful parenting, mindful marriage, even mindful divorce. But what exactly is mindfulness, and how can it impact your writing – and your life?

The idea of mindfulness comes from the Zen practice of meditation, of being still and fully aware of each moment. Mindfulness is actually a state of no mind, a practice of quieting the mind of the highway-traffic congestion that runs through our heads on a 24-hour-a-day basis. For writers, it’s even more difficult to go to a place of no-mind, because we are always writing, if not physically, then mentally. Writers are really observers, so we are constantly thinking as we look and listen to what is going on around us. When writers are not observing, we are living in our heads, our minds busy with taking our observations and sculpting them into story plots and characters and dialogue. Most writers, I would argue, suffer from thinking exhaustion. And what happens when a writer’s mind is exhausted? Writers block, for one.

At the beginning of one recent Mindful Writing workshop I held, participants were asked to take a moment and write down on paper any concerns, stressors, or worries they had about attending, or any obstacles they faced in coming. I then led them all outside, asked them to scrunch up what they had just written, throw it in the trash, and walk back into the classroom, but before they stepped in, I asked them to step back in with their non-dominant foot. Just this simple physical act forces us to stop and become aware of what we are doing. The physical act of throwing a list of worries away works to release the tension surrounding them. The entire mood of the room immediately changed: the energy level and excitement increased. We then got down to work.

Incorporating mindfulness techniques into our writing practice serves to open up a well of creativity with endless flow, and in our upcoming class, we’ll begin with some guided meditation. Participants will be led to examine common hindrances to our writing, such as writer’s block, analysis paralysis, loss of motivation, and poor productivity – all too familiar problems writers face at one time or another.

Write Your First Draft with Your Heart. Re-Write with your Head. As writers, we tend to live in our minds, overthinking and overanalyzing each word. In one recent class, a student said she has a great idea for a story all planned out and starts to write, but gets stuck after the first few pages. She can’t ever finish anything. This writer is suffering from analysis paralysis, critically over analyzing until her creativity is strangled.
Do you find yourself questioning your decisions, such as, “Did I start in the right place?”, “Is that the best opening?”, “Does this sound stupid?” Our overthinking mind can be a ruthless critic, squelching not only creativity, but our enthusiasm and interest. The critical mind is great for editing stages, but lethal for the creative stages. Just being aware of your tendency to over-analyze can help you circumvent paralysis. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to overcome such negative thinking.

Sometimes when I sit down to write at 9:00 am and then discover it’s after 12:00, it seems like only ten minutes have passed. For me, writing is a Zen-like state, where I lose time – and myself – in writing. In this state of no-mind, great things can happen. Some people call it inspiration. Some call it the muse. Some call it magic. By living too much in our heads, many of us have lost our ability to create. Practicing mindfulness, becoming mind-full, can not only enhance your writing, but can enrich all areas of your life.

Our Mindful Writing Workshop will devote significant time to generating ideaswriting new material and sharing our work with nonjudgmental and supportive peers. Writers are also encouraged to bring a work in progress to discuss how to find the heart of the piece. This class is ideal for those wanting to incorporate mindfulness techniques into their life and writing practice, deepen a creative practice, improve their understanding of literary craft, and obtain critique of their writing.
Mindful Writing
Oct 19, Saturday, 9 am - 4 p.m.

N E W    L O C A T I O N
The Village Writing School
177 Huntsville Road, Eureka Springs
(Highway S. 23)
This was the Day it Was
Rainy.  But a great afternoon to snuggle in and learn some important writing principles from the fun Pamela Foster.  

Traveler's Not So Impressed


Thanks to Linda Maiella for the grapes, cheese & cookies.

Chair Assembly Party & Update on Building
Work Work Work

Last Thursday night started with a flurry of work as 15 Village Writers and Friends wrestled the chairs. We celebrated our victory with pizza from Chelsea's.

Our workshop space is shaping up.  We have the projection equipment and Richard has mounted the bracket, which creatured an interesting feature in Pam Foster's powerpoint.

The flower beds are now dug down to China, and the pepto bismal room has been painted very professionally by Jude Singleton and her friend, Jan. 

Thanks to EVERYONE who is working to make the Village Writing School awesome!
Calendar & UPCOMING
(except Oct 10)

Writers at Work Night Out
6-9 pm 

Everyone Welcome
Find your deep writing voice
Elizabeth Diane Newell-Mack

Writers' Circles

November 2
Writing for Children
Have YOUR Children's Story
Critiqued by award-winning
Childen's Author & Publisher
Craig Froman

Coming in December
Writing your Christmas Story
A free gift from the
Village Writing School

January 18, 2014
Getting Started
(the first 2 pages, research,
to outline or not, story arc,
writing rules to live by)
For more information or to register for any workshop, contact Alison at 
or 479 292-3665.

It Takes a
Village to
Raise a Story

--Linda Maella
You are receiving this email because you asked to be kept informed about writing workshops and coming events.

Contact Information:

Publisher: Alison Taylor-Brown
Editor: Alice French
Copyright © 2013 Village Writing School
All rights reserved.