“"...till by the end you feel you have lived many lives: which is perhaps the greatest gift a novel can give."”
Ursula K. Le Guin

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Instructions To Self: Learning To Breathe
Fri 2005-08-19 23:06:08 (in context)
  • 45,098 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 71.50 hrs. revised

First, boot up your word processor and open the novel in progress. Find where you left of yesterday. Now open up some music-playing software and load up Enya's Watermark album.

Close your eyes and breathe.

Breathe in; focus on your third eye/brow chakra (a spot between and above your eyes, just do it, OK?) as you do. It glows brighter and brighter as your belly expands with air. Pretend you're actually inhaling through your brow chakra rather than through your nose. Now hold onto that breath. Feel your brow chakra pulsing with warmth and light.

Just before you begin to feel tense from holding your breath, begin to let it out slowly. Shift your focus to your heart chakra (a spot in the center of your chest). Pretend you are exhaling out of your heart chakra, and feel it glow brighter and brighter. When you are empty of air, hold onto that emptiness for a little while before inhaling again.

Continue to do this, eyes closed and thinking only of the breath, until the title track of "Watermark" comes to an end.

Now, as the next track, "Cursum Perficio," begins to play, pick up some wool and start carding it. The motion of the combs goes well with the pulse of the song. Stay conscious of your breath. By the end of the song, you'll have a whole bunch of wool ready to spin, so go ahead and spin it. Take your time and enjoy the calm motion of the spinning wheel. Don't rush yourself to feed out the fiber. How slowly can you work the treadles?

Don't try to think about anything. Just trust that as the spinning wheel imposes order on the wool, so will the process impose clarity on the thoughts you are not yet thinking.

Continue spinning until the album is done. Now return to your laptop. You left off yesterday at the beginning of the Chapter 8 rewrite. Go back through what you have written already, cleaning up the narration and smoothing out the dialogue. Now write the rest of the chapter. Wind the tension tighter and tighter until it at last, at the end, it breaks--

and the main character has learned to breathe.