Beginner’s Mind

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Filed under: Writing Tips 
Beth Barany, Co-Founder, Breakfast Blogging Club, & PJ Hulle, BBC member

Beth Barany, Co-Founder, Breakfast Blogging Club, & PJ Hulle, BBC member

Beth Barany here…

I was recently reminded of being a beginner again when I started tutoring elementary school kids. At eight or nine years old, most everything you learn is for the first time. When the kids  delight in using “Obama” in a Hangman spelling game, or express glee at a rearrange-the-letter phonics exercise, their wonder is contagious.

Ah — to have that joy and pleasure again! Well, I’m here to tell you you can!

What is beginner’s mind and how can it help you in writing blog posts (or writing anything for that matter?)

Breathe. Enjoy the moment. I imagine you’re sitting in a chair, your fingers are on the keyboard, on your mouse, and you’re reading this. Now imagine that the world is an open book. Imagine that you can paint your tomorrow, just by the simple flick of your wrist. Imagine that you can choose blue or green or orange for the sky. Really, you can. Play, have fun, and color outside the lines.

You can approach this day in a totally different way unlike any other day. I  know it’s easy to fall into the comfortable cozy rut of life. As adults, we’ve cut a lot of grooves that are easy to follow and don’t require much thought.

Dare to leap into a moment where this is the newest moment you’ve ever experienced.

As a high school validictorian and college dropout (who did get her BA after 13 years), I’m here to tell you that I found much value in not knowing, in wandering to gather life experiences, and in experiencing the moment without knowijg any of the answers. I still feel that I don’t know where I’m going. But, you know what? That’s okay.

Around the blind corner lies my answer. And that answer is often what I expect the least.

The beginner’s mind allows us to pull back and re-examine our reality and ask:

  • Is that true? or
  • What if I did it that way? or
  • What if I didn’t do that thing that I think is so important to me?

For the timed writing below, write into this newness where you don’t know, plainly just don’t know. And let that be okay. Yes, I understand this is scary for the adult who has to know what’s next. For right now, and in your writing explore what it’s like to not know, and to see what next around the corner.

Timed Writing Exercise

Set your timer for 20 minutes and write without stopping. Don’t concern yourself with grammar, spelling or clarity. That will come in your editing and rewriting.

  • Reflect on how you can be a beginner in your writing and your life.
  • Write about what it was like to a beginner at whatever your profession is. Have appreciation for who you were then. You had to be there before you could be where you are today.

Once your timer rings, stop and appreciate what you have just written. I am curious! Let us know when your post is up. I’d love to read it.

Happy Beginnings!

c. 2009 Beth Barany


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