How I Got Past Writer’s Block With Yoga
In January 2017, I set a goal for myself. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write books. I decided that this year, I would not only write a book, but also publish it. By the end of the calendar year, I would have a product listing on Amazon with something I wrote, and I would be a published author.
It’s a lot of pressure to put on oneself — especially since I have a full-time job and like many creatives, dream of working on personal projects only to watch the months and years go by and never quite find time to put words on a page.
In my case, it was even worse. I wanted to write in college, but chose to study business because it was a more responsible degree. Then I went to graduate school for journalism, and started working in media to build up my writing skills, and started a book recommendations app on the side — an expression of my enthusiasm for books, but I was still not putting words on a page.
Finally, when I hit a wall with the book app and got burned out, I had to accept that what I truly wanted was to write, and to do that, I would have to set aside other side projects.
This got me to a general outline and a pitch to a literary agent, but still, very little actual writing. That’s what brings me to yoga.
Around the same time I decided I would write a book by the end of the year, I discovered a couple who does acroyoga on Instagram. I once did yoga teacher training and have long been a Vinyasa aficionado, but never was very good at arm balances. When I saw the routines this couple posted to Instagram, I decided I needed to learn to do a handstand.
So I signed up for a Friday night acroyoga class at a studio near my apartment. In acroyoga, I had to not only trust myself and my strength in the poses, but I had to trust various classmates I was partnered with to not drop me.
One thing you don’t see a lot of on acroyoga Instagram is people falling. But in reality, falling is part of it.
When you fall, you learn to get back up again, a lesson from childhood many of us have forgotten.
When I practice arm balances, I know I will fall, but that I will get better over time. Introducing a bit of failure into my life helped me — finally — get words on a page.
Some days I would read my manuscript and think, hey, this is actually quite good. Other days, I would shut my computer and bury my head under a pillow, convinced there was no way forward. I literally have a Word file on my computer titled “cuts 2.27.17 oh got this is bad.docx.”
When you succeed in one pursuit, it helps lighten the failure in another. Pairing my pursuits of writing and yoga helped balance each other out. Not to mention, yoga got my body moving and allowed my mind to rest, while writing does the opposite.
On Nov. 17, my book, Shameless, will be available for purchase on Amazon. I still can’t do a handstand, but there’s always 2018.