The Finding Your Creative Flow program series explores the intersection of concentration and creativity through scientific research, mindfulness meditation and artistic practice.
Finding Your Creative Flow
The term “creative flow” refers to the state of being completely present and fully immersed in a task. Distractions fall away, time seems to warp, and ideas float up seemingly out of nowhere. But it is not magic. There is an extensive body of scientific research around the state of flow and how we can learn to manifest it in support of our chosen vocations. This evening’s program will explore how creative flow can be cultivated and nurtured through the practice of insight meditation. Appropriate for artists, athletes, scientists, executives and anyone else looking to find their creative flow in work and in life.
Finding Your Creative Flow Sessions:
Dismantle Writer’s Block
This session will begin with a short introduction to insight meditation. With our minds settled, we will turn our curiosity toward what motivates us as writers and examine what factors hamper our efforts to get words on the page. Through a series of mindful writing prompts we learn to recognize our inner critics, bow to them, and keep writing. Once we have a draft in progress, we will discuss how the Buddhist principal of Right View can help us to better edit our own work.
Writing Sensory Details
Whether building a fictional world, setting the scene of a memoir, or immersing a reader in a poem, specific sensory details bring written words to life. We will begin this session with a series of meditations on the senses, including touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste. With each, we will practice avoiding cliché by seeking out the precise descriptions that are uniquely our own. From there we will discuss how to carefully fold these types of sensory details into our writing without overwhelming the prose.
To write well-rounded characters we must become students of human nature. By truly understanding what motivates our protagonists, antagonists, sidekicks and mentors we can portray them in compelling ways. This session will utilize a series of short meditations and writing prompts to help us build empathy and describe emotional scenes with conviction. We will discuss how attachment theory and unconscious patterned responses can dictate how our characters respond to their surroundings and how we can use that knowledge to write convincing characters.
This session will focus on creating space within ourselves for our creative work. We will discuss the science behind inherited trauma and learn what to do when overwhelming emotions arise. We will practice non-grasping for when things are going well. We will explore our motivations for writing and talk about the importance of holding some percentage of our work in a sacred space not intended for public consumption. All of these exercises can be useful in writing convincing characters, but (more importantly) they are critical for our mental health as writers.
April Dávila is an author and mindfulness instructor. Publisher’s Weekly called her novel, 142 Ostriches, a “vivid, uplifting debut” and Writer’s Digest listed her website as one of the Best 101 Websites for Writers. After studying mindfulness with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, she was certified as a mindfulness meditation teacher by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the co-founder of A Very Important Meeting, an online platform hosting over a dozen mindful writing groups every week.