Zabowska's Blog

November 1, 2009

A Blank Mind…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 11:28 pm

  It almost seems like an oxymoron that a writer’s mind should be blank in order for
him/her to write effectively. But that is so much what the trained writer says over and
over again.

  I know in my own case, that I must keep all of my distractions at bay if I am to have a
good writing session.  Otherwise, I feel quite overwhelmed because I feel pulled and
pushed in every direction but the one that will lead me to write the words on the page.

  What precisely is a ‘blank mind’ and can a writer bring this about before (s)he begins
his/her writing for the day?  A writer can intentionally bring about such a mind. It is the
mind of the passive observer and the active writer. The passive observer has to have a
sufficient amount of peace and quiet to hear the words inside of his/her head that are
beckoning to be put on the page. The active writer is the person who is sitting with pen
and paper or in front of the keyboard writing for the prescribed amount of time.

  I still set a timer when I write. I set the first time for forty-five minutes.  Then when the
timer goes off, I take a ten minute break. I take walk and get a coffee. Then I set my
timer for another forty-five minutes. Once I write for that period of time, then I am
usually finished the bulk of my creative writing for the day.

  During those two forty-five minute writing intervals, I make sure that I have no
distractions. All of my family members know that about my writing times and they do
not to disturb me unless it is urgent. I never answer my phone during those times, and
neither do I answer emails.  This is my writing time and I stick to it.

  But neither to I allow my mind to wander. If it wanders, I bring it right back to my
writing. I find that to be the best way to keep focused on my writing and to accomplish
my quota of writing each day.

  Thus, developing the blank mind is essential to write effectively and to stay on target
with your writing.  If you haven’t tried it, I urge you to do it. You will be glad that you



  1. Sunny,

    Are you sure this is a “blank mind”? Couldn’t you think of it as allowing your mental slateboard to be erased and readied for new sentences?

    I ask b/c “blank” for me means without thought. Blankness is the last thing I’ll ever achieve. Mild scenery is possible, though. A pleasant scene which stimulates me with mood and relaxation. Since my scene has no people/manmade things in it, I suppose it could be considered “glank” in a broad definition.

    Just asking. I must find an image in order to begin. I never hunt for words. Words get me in trouble sometimes, so I stick with images.

    This is something that we do have to think about, though. Yet for many writers who have young families, especially, this is seldom doable. And there are those people who spark creative only when there is a lot of activity around them to keep the flow going. I’ve done that only because I think in pictures and sometimes it really helps keep the mental movie running.

    Good topic. Keep it up.


    Comment by claudsy — November 3, 2009 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

    • Hi Clauds,

      ‘Blank mind’ is a bit of an ambiguous term. ‘Blank mind’ can mean a few different things. First, blank mind can be described as a mind that is not distracted by outside things, such as telephone calls, internet, and so on. Your writing time should be sacrosanct and you should not allow yourself to be disturbed while you’re writing in order to write most effectively.

      Second, ‘blank mind’ could mean a mind that is focused on the task at hand. In other words, writers should avoid monkey mind when they write. Monkey mind means a mind that is easily distracted and a mind that cannot focus for long periods of time on writing.

      I find that the best way for me to write is to spend a few minutes focusing before I start writing. I also turn off the phone and let the answering machine pick up the calls and refuse to answer emails until I am finished writing. Writers need solitude.

      I hope this clarifies what I mean by ‘blank mind’. Try practising this when you get a chance. It will greatly improve your writing.


      Comment by zabowska — November 4, 2009 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

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