A Meditation for Writers: Conjure a Scene

Jan 4, 2017 | Inspiration, The Highlights Foundation Experience

“Think about the scene you want to create, and focus on one small element.”

Laurie Calkhoven is the author of more than 50 books for young readers ranging from award-winning nonfiction early readers to YA adaptations of adult books. Laurie uses meditation at every stage of her writing process from brainstorming story ideas and getting to know her characters to conjuring scenes and revising her work. We’re delighted that she shared the below meditation with us!

Have a notebook and pen at the ready and a scene in mind before you begin. I often do a simple breathing meditation for 10 minutes or so before I move into scene work, but if you’re pressed for time you can jump right in. The most important thing is to allow yourself to be surprised and discover new things about your scene, your characters, and your story.

Sit in a comfortable position with your hands loosely in your lap, palms up. Close your eyes and take a few deep, relaxing breaths. Let go of your thoughts and focus on your breath. Check in with your body and see if there are any places where you’re holding tension. Breathe into those places.

As thoughts come in, let them go and come back to your breath.
peaceful scene
Take a few more deep breaths and then envision a warm, relaxing light just over your head. Inhale and let that light come down and touch the top of your head. As you breathe in and out, in and out, let that soothing light begin to cascade over your whole body. Let it come down over your head and neck, then over your arms and torso, and then finally over your hips, legs, and feet.

Allow yourself to be cocooned by that warm, relaxing light. (If you’re feeling at all claustrophobic, simply expand the light. It can be as large as you need it to be.)

Take another deep breath.

Think about the scene you want to create, and focus on one small element. It could be a slant of light coming in the window, a picture on the wall, the smell of perfume lingering in the air, or a child’s laugh.

Zero in on that one element like a camera with a telephoto lens. What do you see? Why is it important?

Take another deep breath and then slowly, slowly pull back like a movie camera, taking in more and more of the scene. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste?

When you’re ready, open your eyes and begin writing.

Thank you to our faculty for this Guest Post!

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