Zen and The Art of Manuscript Maintenance

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 5.49.44 PMWriting is more than just sitting down at the keyboard and typing. Writing is diving into the depths of your soul and embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly. Writing means peeling the onion layers of beliefs and emotions to expose its raw core—and then conveying those sentiments in a way that will evoke a reader’s emotions.

The act of writing requires emotional energy, which is easily depleted. As any new ager or old ager will testify, aligning one’s energies or chakras are important for physical and mental health.

Chakra means wheel of light and refers to the energy that all life resonates with.

The body has 7 distinct energy sources that reveal and control our emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental health.  Belief in these subtle forces originated thousands of years ago and are found in ancient Vedic texts ( Indian Sanskrit ). Whether you’re a skeptic or not, one thing is certain, science validates the existence of energy in all things. 

There are 7 chakra locations: the root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, brow, and crown.

Here’s a few reasons why writers need healthy chakras for all those drafts and rewrites and edits.

The Muladhara or root chakra is located at the base of the spine. It’s the energy connected with integrity, ancestral attitudes, personal hardships, and family history. A healthy root chakra is flexible, adaptable, focused, patience, and giving. It’s also the fight or flight energy.

  • Writers need healthy root chakras to cope with the everyday difficulties of writing. We need to stay focused on our current work in progress, and we need patience while building a platform, editing, or waiting for agent responses. We may need to adapt to noisy environments or be flexible with our time management. 
  • Writers need to fight for their writing time and resist the urge to succumb to writer’s block ( classic flight behavior ).

The Svadhisthana or sacral chakra is located 2-inches below the naval and inside the pelvis. This energy controls health, sex drive, appetite, and the need for giving and/or receiving pleasure. The chakra requires food, sex, work, fun, and exercise.

  • Writers often drink too much coffee and alcohol ( sometimes at the same time—Irish coffee anyone?) Many wanna-be authors write while working full-time jobs or taking care of children. Or both! Writers need to take a break, breathe fresh air, and have some fun to keep the flow of creative energy…um…flowing. You know the saying, all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy—or makes Johnny write a dull plot.

The Manipura or the solar plexus chakra is located below the sternum and over the stomach. This energy is responsible for gut instinct and personal power. It’s the chakra concerned with finances, relationships, career, responsibility, and personal identity.

  • Writers need a healthy solar plexus chakra because our personal identity takes a major beating after receiving well-meant( or not ) criticisms and agent rejections. There’s nothing like a good sucker punch to the gut when a ‘friend’ doubts your ability to write or questions your aspirations.
  • Our identity also get battered and bruised as we try building platforms and interact on social media, especially if your blog gets no hits, you received no retweets, no likes, no comments, and no Facebook shares. Ouch!

The Anahata or the heart chakra is located in the middle of the chest. It’s responsible for creating loving and mature bonds, and is all about Peace, Love, Unity, and Joy. This energy requires sharing, touching, and establishing or maintaining personal connections. A healthy anahata inspires you to be kind, accepting, and inclusive. A weak anahata creates withholding, judgmental, critical, and superficial individuals.

  • Writers need a healthy heart chakra to combat author jealousy or novel envy. Joining writers groups or accepting helpful suggestions—be they from beta readers, agent, or editor—require an open heart. A healthy heart chakra helps you foster the relationships necessary to succeed.
  • Of course, save the peace, love, unity, and joy for your personal life because too much of it in your novel means you’re probably missing some much-needed conflict.

The Vishuddha or throat chakra is located at the throat. It’s the conduit to a higher spiritual realm, aka The Mouth of God. The vishuddra is set free when you speak with integrity, humility, inspiration, and truth.

  • A writer needs a healthy throat chakra because our novels often explore universal truths. Writer speak through their fingers, their feelings, beliefs, and prejudices, conveyed through the written word. Remember, readers are quick to question nonsensical reasoning or dubious ‘wisdom.’
  • Writers also must take care not to disparage, criticize, humiliate or ‘talk smack’ on social media.
  • Whining about the writing/querying/publishing process is also counterproductive. Be your own best cheerleader.

The Ajna or brow chakra is one most folks are familiar with, it’s the 3rd eye, and is located between the brows. This chakra is responsible for spirituality, right thinking, discernment, maturity, analysis, and wisdom. It helps the emotional, intuitive, and creative brain realize harmony. This energy also creates our reality—good or bad–-therefore, it has the ability to manifest our misery or happiness.

  • A healthy ajna can help a writer improve their manuscript. If you’re not feeling wise, analytical, and intuitive how can you write convincingly about characters with those traits?
  • A strong ajna can also improve your attitude. If you write only when inspired or motivated, then figure out how to summon inspiration on–demand. ( Maybe by remembering the happiness you get from writing a few words, finishing a paragraph, or editing a few sentences. ) Whether you’re miserable or happy about the writing process depends on your inner monologue.

The Sahasrara or crown chakra is located at the top of the head. It’s responsible for spirituality, wisdom, discernment and is concerned with personal and worldly insights. It’s the chakra embraced and cultivated by mystics and healers. This chakra requires rest, calm, balance, and inner peace to operate at full capacity.

  • Writers need a healthy crown chakra to maintain their Zen after writing difficult scenes and when writing about evocative themes.
  • Many of us must shed work day problems and free our minds before we can create and develop sensitive plots and insightful characters.
  • A healthy sahasrara helps writers dig deep into delicate and complex subject matters with grace and respect.
  • Not to mention a little inner peace goes a looooong way when dealing with a host of aggravating writer problems or when avoiding social media trouble makers.

Namaste!  

Here’s a few ways to promote healthy chakras.

Chakra Quick Guide

Chakra Quick Guide

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