How long did it take you to write your first book?
Well, my novel took about 4 years. But my current book, Mindfulness and the Art of Drawing, took 2 months! This is partly because I’ve been living and teaching the material for aeons and know it inside out, and partly because my agent wanted a rewrite on the novel, so I had to get both done to a very tight deadline. Necessity is the mother of invention, that’s for sure.
What’s your worst procrastinating habit?
Social media, I’m afraid. I say it’s for work, but actually it’s just my mind veering off and going “Ooooh look there’s something pretty over here.”
How do you stop yourself doing it?
Bringing more awareness to my writing habits and what stops me getting down to it always works. Also, practically speaking, setting aside clearly designated writing time – which is pretty essential when you have a busy life.
Do you listen to the interminable Inner Critic? How do you keep him/her quiet?
Nope, I don’t listen. Mindfulness practice is brilliant for this – it’s one of the main things I teach on mindfulness for writers courses and in all my workshops. Our inner-critic is just a voice in our head, a habit of thinking. “I’m rubbish at this,” isn’t any more real as a thought than, “I’m a purple elephant.” With mindfulness I can allow critical voices to arise, and hold them kindly. As someone inclined to perfectionism, it’s been a saviour.
Quick tip for aspiring writers?
Enjoy it. Write what you feel like, what inspires you, and in whatever style or form feels good for you. Let go as much as possible, and play. Above anything else writing should be fun. When it is, when we’re really enjoying it – it’s so much easier to be productive.
Wendy Ann Greenhalgh is a writer, artist, writing tutor and creative mindfulness teacher. Her fiction and poetry have been published in places such as Stinging Fly, Mslexia, Flash The International Flash Fiction Journal and in anthologies. Her book, Mindfulness and the Art of Drawing, is published by Leaping Hare Press. She’s part of the creative learning team at New Writing South and teaches on the Creative Writing Programme. www.storyscavenger.blogspot.com. Twitter: @storyscavenger Instagram: @artofmindfulness Facebook: Art of Mindfulness