#HFGather: A Monday Meditation for NaNoWriMo +

Nov 3, 2021 | HFGather, Novels

Laurie Calkhoven helped us kick off NaNoWriMo (or any creative project!) with a Monday Meditation #HFGather. She led a 10-minute meditation, followed that with a visualization, and then provided a writing prompt.

We’ve already heard from some attendees:
“That was great. I had a breakthrough on what to write for my next chapters in the mg novel. And I saw that maybe I wasn’t halfway through, but almost finished.”

“I discovered something that will really help me with a plotting snag. And will spend the rest of the morning looking at this new scene and where it will go in the story.”

If you missed the session, you can watch it here:

If you can’t see the video on this page, follow this link to our Youtube channel.

Full Transcript

Hello and welcome! Probably most of you are familiar with the format. I’m going to lead us in a 10 minute simple breathing meditation. And then I’m going to lead you through a visualization and give you a writing prompt.

So I think it’s a good idea to have a character in mind before we begin. And whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo or not, I think that this meditation can help you to get to know your character a little bit better and possibly lead to some scenes you can work in.

So let’s all get comfortable in our chairs and get ready…So just get comfortable on your seat. And let’s all set an intention that whatever comes up in meditation today is exactly the right thing for you in this moment.

We begin by taking a deep breath in. And breathe out…and in…and breathe out and notice if you’re holding tension anywhere in your body, and if you are, you can maybe breathe into that spot or wiggle that spot and release some of that tension. And we all have a habit of holding onto tension in our jaws, clenching our teeth sometimes.

So let’s all, on our next exhale, let’s roll out a big sigh and open our mouths wide and take a deep breath in. And sigh. Let’s do that once more. Deep breath in. OK, we’re going to continue breathing in and out for the next 10 minutes. And I will keep track of the time.

OK, keep your eyes closed and keep up your deep meditative breathing. And I want you to envision yourself in a meadow, a beautiful meadow. It’s an early fall day. You can feel the sun warm on your face, but there’s a crispness to the air as you feel the breeze go by, maybe rustle your hair a bit.

Take another deep breath of that clean, fresh air, and enjoy. Just enjoy the meadow for a minute. Maybe you can smell flowers. You can hear birds, song and bees buzzing. Feel the sun on your face.

Now take another deep breath in and notice a path beneath your feet. And begin to follow the path. Maybe reach out and touch a tree along the way. You might pass a bush, with some few berries left at the end of the summer. Or an apple tree. Or strawberry patch and you can pick a piece of fruit and pop it in your mouth. Taste the warm juice on your tongue. The texture of the fruit on your tongue.

And continue following the path for this beautiful meadow on this beautiful early fall day. And notice that the path is leading you to a pond with a still glass-like clear surface. Take off your shoes and dip your toes in the water. Feel the water on your toes. The cool water on your feet. And wiggle your toes. And watch the ripples move out from your feet towards the center of the pond. And when they reached the center of the pond, notice that they’re mingling with ripples coming from the other side and look up and see your character standing on the other side of the pond and give them a little wave.

And then we want to set on the path that led you to the pond also goes around it. So we’re going to follow that path around the pond. Put your shoes on first if you need to and your character is also walking towards you and as they come closer and closer, you can begin to notice more details about the way they hold their head. The way they swing their arms or if they’re walking fast or slow.

We can begin to notice the clothes they’re wearing. And as your character gets closer and closer, you begin to notice the expression on their face, the color of their eyes. And begin to notice more and more about your character as you come closer together and then you and your character are 20 feet apart and then 10. And then 5.

And then your character is standing right in front of you. Your character is going to lead you somewhere. This morning your character is going to lead you to a door. What does the door look like? Is it a metal fire door with a push bar to open? Is it a set of 1972 glass beads hanging in a doorway as it appeared? Big heavy wooden door that you have to really push to open? Can you open it or is the door locked? And if it is locked, does your character have a key or do you have to knock to enter?

Why has your character LED you to this particular door? And where does it lead and why is it important? When you’re ready, you can open your eyes and begin writing. And while you’re writing, try to keep your hand moving. Don’t stop to think. Just let things bubble up. And we’re going to write for 15 minutes.

OK, we’re going to take one more minute. OK, I’m going to open it up for questions in a second, if you want to finish up what you’re writing. But before I answer questions I wanted to share with you something I learned from Jillian Sullivan, who is a New Zealand writer who I was lucky enough to cross paths with at Highlights more than once.

She told me that before every writing session, she just breathes light into her heart. For a few minutes before she begins writing. And then that way she’s writing from her heart space and not from her head. I think that’s a wonderful practice and it’s something I try to remember to do in my own. In my own writing.

If anyone has any questions, I’m hap Nancy wants to know: Do I sometimes get questions to ask you on your next meditation questions from my characters? I do. Sometimes, questions arise in the meditation, something that I need my character to explain to me or share with me or lead me somewhere. So yes, that can come up, although I try not to think too much ahead of time about what it is I’m going to be writing about after the meditation, because then I think it’s hard to get to stillness. So I try to allow myself to be surprised by writing prompts.

Those of you who’ve meditated with me before know that I have meditation prompts written down on index cards and I keep them face down on my desk and when I finish the meditation, I might turn over a card and and see what that says.

If you have questions, please put them in the Q&A. But Linda, I see in the chat that Linda wanted to know what Julian Sullivan said we should do before we begin writing. And it is simply to breathe light into your heart and then that way you’re writing from your heart and not from your head. And I think that’s a good practice.

So I don’t see any other questions.

Thank you to our faculty for this Guest Post!

Learn More About the Author

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.