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Travel writing and mindfulness: how to find concentration to write

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Tips and exercises to train concentration and find inspiration to write.

“Mind, eyes and heart must be placed on the same line of sight”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

The teaching of the great photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson is also useful for writing.
You need to develop presence to find inspiration, words and your own style.
Think of the sensations you get while traveling or watching the sun rise over the sea or walking in silence in the woods. How would you describe them? How would you place them in a narrative context?

Experiences of this kind are easier to tell than the home-work journey, but what happens if we have to tell an everyday context instead? What happens if we do not receive stimuli from the environment and words fail?
We have to find them!

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Writing is an activity that not only requires concentration, but also a profound union between reason and feeling.
It requires our presence, our essence which translates into words and a unique narrative style precisely because it is the result of our introspective journey.
Our attention towards what surrounds us, towards the memory of an event, a feeling, a place or a person and consequently to write about it, must take place in a natural way, not forced.That is why mindfulness can help us in writing!

There are meditative techniques useful for learning:

  • self-awareness
  • awareness of external reality

Being able to listen to oneself and to recognize sensations and emotions that come from what surrounds us improves the ability to concentrate and helps us develop new points of view useful for improving our writing.

EXERCISE 1

Look closely at an object for five minutes and then hide it and describe it. Once this first text is done, turn the page, resume the object, observe it for another five minutes, hide it and write a second descriptive text. Comparing the writings, the second will contain more details that you may not have noticed during the first observation.

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EXERCISE 2

Go out for 20 minutes and write down the place, details, people, voices, smells, thoughts and tactile and visual sensations. Try to fill in as much detail as you grasp as if you were to give someone a testimony of a fact.

EXERCISE 3

Change your perspective! Describe a place to sit or lie down, focus on this new point of view to describe in detail the environment around you.

Telling a place means telling the relationship between us and that place. Writing in the third or first person, we are equally the protagonists of that story.
The more we look for detail and objectivity, the more we look for thoughts, words and emotions in ourselves to convey a message to others.
Those who read us identify with our adventures, imagine the places thanks to us. For this reason, to write, it is essential to cultivate the presence and awareness of the self and reality.

What do you think?

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