Sketch out a rough draft (2 pages) after you’ve done the “Start Where You Are” exercise.
Include your mantra at the top of the draft. It’s okay if this isn’t necessarily your final choice for a mantra: a draft is fine.
Pick a few of your responses from “Start Where You Are” and just freewrite or write about them, seeing where they head.
FINAL DRAFT INSTRUCTIONS:
Design A Mindful Writing Mantra
The etymology of “mindfulness” is to “remember to remember.” Meditators use a variety of techniques to remember-to-remember, including meditation bells and mantra, or a verbal saying that is repeated or becomes the object of reflection. Ideally, a mantra should be paired with breath-watching, with mindful breathing encoded in the mantra, for example, “Breathing in, I know I am here; breathing out, I know I am here now.” Here’s one of my mantra: “Your Ability to Write is Already Present.” Here’s another, “Present moment, breathing moment, writing moment.”
A mindful writing mantra draws our attention back to the present moment. Resultant changes in our outlook and emotional state can happen within seconds of repeating a mantra, in part because the mantra steers our internal talk, which probably up until that moment had been free-ranging, widely discursive, its self-pathos rhetoric goading us into all sorts of additional mental formations and storylines about our writing.
This project involves designing your own mindful writing mantra in the context of an extended exploration of mindful writing theory and practice. The intent is to make your mantra something you would actually display on your desk or wherever you tend to write—as an object, as a sign, possibly as jewelry—and build that mantra on sound mindful writing concepts.
Parts of Project:
Design of a mindful writing mantra
Design the rhetoric of your mantra
Design a visual appearance for your mantra. The examples of mindful calligraphy (from Thich Nhat Hanh) at the top of this exercise sheet are each inside an almost-closed circle. It’s called an ensō: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ens%C5%8D (Links to an external site.) Take a picture of the drawing (or visual elements) or describe how you would design its visual appearance; if the former, email me the picture along with the project.
7+ page exploration of mindful writing, connecting your mantra to concepts from the course covering all of the following, drawing multiple links to assigned readings. How does your mantra connect to:
Role in content development (accessing monkey mind to come up with ideas)
Role in self-pathos (preconceptions about writing ability, storylines, mind waves and mind weeds, basic goodness)
Role in creating audience ghosts/reader demons
Role in content development (coming up with ideas)
Ability to track change in content and writing ability
How does your mantra help you become more aware of your physical self as you write?
General problems in your writing life
How you plan to use your writing mantra to chip away at mindlessness
Specific phases in a writing process (Starting? Drafting? Revising? Receiving Feedback? Finishing?) when you might use the mantra.
Use multiple examples from your writing life (brief or extended)
Use multiple examples from assigned readings
Talk about your process of creating your mantra
Include material from your “Start Where You Are” exercises
Possibly talk about using the mantra TO COMPLETE this final project or another writing assignment at the end of this semester: show your mantra in action
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