Try This Powerful Guided Meditation to Remove Writing Blocks
Many parents call or email me and say that their child struggles with a writing block. It could be anything from, “I don't know what to write” to “I can't get what's in my head onto the paper.”
As a lifetime writer, I understand why these blocks happen. The common denominator is often negative thoughts. Perhaps your child is saying to herself, “Nothing I write is going to be any good anyway, so why bother?” or “My teacher isn’t going to like what I write.” Or, it could be as simple as “Writing is hard.”
All of these beliefs make it difficult to get started when faced with a blank page. One way to address these negative thoughts is through guided meditation.
Here is a guided meditation exercise you can use with your child when they face a writing block. When practiced over time, this will become more effective and powerful. It would be a great thing to practice for five minutes before your child starts a writing assignment.
Have your child sit in a comfortable position and close their eyes. For the first couple of times you practice, you can read this aloud to them. Then, once they have learned the technique, they can practice it on their own.
Take a couple of deep breaths. Sense into where you feel the breath the most: in your belly, in your chest, or coming out of your nose. Take another couple of breaths, focusing on one of these places. Breathe in, breath out. Breathe in, breathe out.
Imagine you are sitting on a grassy hill in a park. It is a warm, sunny day, and there is a slight breeze blowing that you can feel on your skin. Feel how relaxing it is to be in this beautiful park with the soft green grass below you and the blue sky above. Take a moment to look around and enjoy the lovely view. (Pause for a moment.)
Now, bring to mind the thoughts you’re having about writing. Maybe you just do not know what to write. Or, maybe you have a topic, but you do not know what would be a good first sentence. You will have your own thoughts about writing; whatever is coming up is fine. As each thought arises, imagine it is placed inside a bubble. Watch that bubble as it floats up, higher and higher, until you cannot see it anymore. Now that particular worry about writing has floated away on the breeze. Do this with each thought or worry, until you do not have any worries left or you feel more relaxed and ready to write. Take as long as you need, putting each thought into a bubble and watching it float away. When you feel ready, put up one finger to signal you can move on to the next part.
Give your child as long as they need to let those negative-thought bubbles float away.
Now, imagine there is a box next to you. When you open it, you see a delicious apple inside. When you eat this apple, it is going to fortify you with confidence. Take as many bites of the apple as you need so that you can feel confident when you write. With each bite, really savor the crispness and sweetness. Know that with every bite, you are giving yourself powerful confidence that will help you tackle this writing assignment. Imagine that confidence filling you up as you eat the apple. When you’re done, put the apple back in the box. If you have eaten the whole apple, put the core in the box. This apple is available any time and will magically regenerate, so you can always come back for more. When you are done, open your eyes.
This exercise does two things: it helps the child let go of the negative thoughts plaguing them about writing and bolsters their confidence. The more you practice it, the better they will become at letting go of these thoughts.
The second piece is important: sometimes it helps to have a little something extra to add to our own inner reserves of confidence. Your child can use that magic apple not only for writing, but in the face of any challenge.
I will be happy to include this meditation as part of a session for any student struggle with writing.