Think clearly, write clearly

To show that he is 100% behind my quest to become a writer, my supportive new hubby acquired a copy of On Writing Well by William Zinsser. Awww.


I’m less than 10% of the way through, but have already come across some advice that makes me think writing and yoga are good combinations. Zinsser explains that the answer to achieving a Thoreauvian freedom from clutter is:

… to clear our heads of clutter. Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other.

Simple. If I want to be a clear writer, I need to be a clear thinker.

While I’m usually not-too-shabby at academic pursuits, I’m frequently anxious. This causes many unhelpful thoughts to bump around my noggin.

So what can I do to achieve the mental clarity required to write beautiful prose?

The usual suspects are eating well, getting enough sleep, keeping my mind active, and exercising. The only problem is that I usually try to do those things anyway (albeit with varying degrees of success). I need something more to shush the buzzing in my brain.

Yoga for Clear Thinking gives the following reasons why the practice is effective for achieving a clear state of mind:

  • Yoga can have a positive impact on the mind in a way quite different from that of regular forms of exercise
  • You don’t have to make an effort to quieten your mind when practising yoga
  • When your mind is happy and clear, your breath is long and easy (and presumably vice-versa)

It seems there is another reason to make the most of living in the back-bending capital of the US. I wonder if my studio fees will be tax deductible?…


3 replies

  1. Congrats on getting the blog up and running!

    After I read this post I thought you might be interested in It’s based on an idea called ‘morning pages’ which suggests that writing 3 pages of unfiltered, stream of consciousness stuff first thing in the morning is a great way to clear the head. I’ve done it on and off for years and think of it almost like an active meditation practice. Often my thoughts are all over the place – and are generally mundane – half-formed sentences about the chores I need to do, complaints about feeling tired or stressed etc! But after about 10 days of regular writing I definitely notice more clarity in my thinking and I’m actually able to focus on a single thought for much longer and much more deeply without getting distracted.

    Anyway, I look forward to following your SF adventures via the blog 🙂

    • Thanks for the great suggestion Clare. I gave it a go this morning. I found it pretty difficult to let the words just flow out like that, which probably means it’s good for me!

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