The Mindful Writer by Dinty W. Moore has the subtitle Noble Truths of the Writing Life, and is a book that will appeal to anyone who is interested in the relationship between mindfulness and writing. The author is of course famous for his earlier book The Accidental Buddhist, but he is also an accomplished writer of essays and stories, as well as being the Director of the BA, MA and PhD in Creative Writing program at Ohio University. This gives a tremendous amount of weight to Moore’s insights, and writers who practice mindfulness (or mindfulness practitioners who are interested in writing) would do very well to pay close attention to what he has to say.
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The Mindful Writer opens with Moore giving a little background on how he came to write the book and then he presens The Four Noble Truths for Writers. The first truth is that: ‘The writing life is difficult, full of disappointment and dissatisfaction,’ and anyone who has taken writing at all seriously will be quick to nod in agreement. The good news is that there are three more Noble Truths for writers that follow the first one, and although we don’t intend to spoil your reading experience, we will tell you that the author will show you ‘a way to lessen the disappointment and dissatisfaction and to live a more fruitful writing life.’
There are four main sections in this book, and these are entitled The Writer’s Mind, The Writer’s Desk, The Writer’s Vision and The Writer’s Life. In all of these sections, each chapter opens with a quote, usually from an accomplished writer or artist. Moore then uses that quote as a springboard to present his own associated ideas on the relationship between writing and mindfulness.
The chapters in The Mindful Writer are short and wonderfully easy to digest, usually running to a couple of pages or so, and each and every one of them delivers something incredibly useful. It could be something for you to think about in relation to your own work and life, or it might be a practical technique or tip that you can apply directly. Our advice is to avoid any temptation to rush and to approach the book itself mindfully so that you can really mull over the content and extract the maximum possible benefit from it.
Moore covers an extraordinary amount of ground in The Mindful Writer. You’ll learn why you shouldn’t wait for inspiration to strike, why writers write, how to deal with the ‘sick sense of failure’ that all writers struggle with, why you should give yourself permission to write lousy first drafts and the single most important trait that all writers must have. And that’s from just five of the fifty-nine chapters which make up this volume. Add in the content of the other fifty-four chapters and, by the time you finish this book, you will have been inspired, educated, consoled, motivated and encouraged at every turn.
In short, The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life is an indispensable title for anyone who wants to better understand the relationship between writing and mindfulness. Apply what you learn and your writing will thank you for it!