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Diving into the Wreck: Mindfulness and Creative Writing

Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.” The relationship between mindfulness and writing is bi-directional; writing exercises can cultivate mindfulness and presence, and mindfulness techniques can be used to support a writing practice by developing helpful mental habits, overcoming writers’ block, encouraging creativity, and facilitating fruitful self-discovery.

In this one-day workshop, we will discuss ways in which mindfulness principles can be brought to bear on each stage of the writing process—drafting, revising, editing, and even proofreading. The bulk of the workshop will be dedicated to experimenting with mindfulness practices that facilitate self-discovery and creativity. We’ll bring mindfulness practices to bear on Adrienne Rich’s poem “Diving Into the Wreck” and Hélène Cixous’ concept of “the three steps on the ladder of writing,” and take a deep dive into our own inner worlds to discover how courageously befriending ourselves and cultivating a state of awareness can transform our relationship to the writing process and to our own creativity.

About the Instructor: 

Melissa Jean is an Assistant Professor in the Mindfulness Studies masters’ program at Lesley University, where she also works as an Interdisciplinary Studies facilitator for Creative Writing MFA students. She teaches courses in academic writing, creative writing, and research methods. She received an MFA in Fiction Writing from Lesley, and a PhD in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management from Utah State University. Her writing has appeared in The Colorado Review and a variety of online journals, including most recently Junoesq and Causeway Lit.