My Write Mind

Anyone who doubts the theory of perpetual motion has not been inside my head.

It is a machine that doesn’t stop running. One thought snowballs into another. If my brain were a mountain, red triangular signs would warn of avalanches and hidden cliffs.

I can’t stop the frenzy of thought, but I can direct it.

The notion of emptying my mind through traditional meditation is kind of like telling a toddler to sit still—it’s an unrealistic practice. I’ve had to find alternative ways to guide my thoughts. Namely, I write.

Writing makes my head stop spinning in circles. It puts thought on a trajectory outward. It’s how I get ‘out of my head.’ There is something in the prattling of those keys. Something in the sound of it. I imagine it’s the way a gentle rain sounds to most people. When I listen to gentle rain, all I can think of is all the things I could be doing instead of listening to gentle rain.


I’ve experienced a writer’s Nirvana. It is when I am so consumed by what I am writing that I cease to be writing at all. The action of the next thought dissolves into a great drive of purpose, where thoughts connect seamlessly. All water leads to the ocean, and in my write mind, all thought leads to the page.

I didn’t know that writing was medicine until I got clean and sober. My thoughts didn’t always have an outlet. Instead of expressing them outwardly, a crazy swirl of thought—spiraling inward—drove me crazy.

In recovery I project those thoughts outward. And the universe is infinite.


Here are 5 common benefits of meditation (pooled from various websites) that are benefits my writing practice:

  1. Improved Focus: The topic or idea becomes a permanent fixture. The thoughts that don’t lead to it are quickly abandoned. I fix my thoughts on one thing, and let everything else blur beyond the margin.
  2. Less Anxiety: The calm that comes from accessing my write mind is similar to a runner’s high. I can feel the endorphins release. I will note that the process to relieve anxiety can be an anxious one. I never start in that blissful place. I work up to it. I have to write about utter nonsense until an idea comes that I can focus on.
  3. Personal Transformation: Writing has transformed my life. The practice makes all the shitty days worthwhile somehow. It brings clarity, insight, and—since starting this blog—a wonderful community.
  4. More Creativity: I define creativity as looking ahead for something new, not behind at something old. That’s just my definition. I believe there are many ways to stay creative in everyday existence. It’s the difference between watching a movie you know will interest you, and channel surfing to kill time. My write mind keeps me looking ahead, keeps me creative, keeps me looking for something new.
  5. Peace of Mind: This can best be explained by the chaos of mind I experience when I don’t write. If I don’t release those thoughts outward, I go crazy. I imagine it’s like surfing. You paddle your ass off to catch a wave, to lose yourself in the ride. Not writing would mean paddling my ass off and watching wave after wave pass me by. I wrote a story for Transformation Is Real about this.


Lighting a candle and sitting still never gave me the same loss of self that writing does. I chase thoughts through all sorts of neuron-highways and back streets. Closing my eyes just makes the journey like driving at night without headlights and a GPS rambling on with its “re-calculating” every minute.

I need active meditation. And writing isn’t the only way I get there.

The calmest I am all week is when I’m playing pickup basketball on Tuesday nights. I remove the necessity of the mind to think. I just react. It is blissful. 

Prayer is asking, and meditation is listening. Unfortunately, I hear all sorts of crazy shit when I listen to my thoughts. But give them an activity, a purpose: put my hands to work, and I reach new places—I create.


21 Responses to “My Write Mind

  • new twist. i think,therefor i write

  • Nailed it, Mark! Returning to a regular practice of writing has helped me so much over this chaotic and sort of horrible summer. Hearing those keys, as you so brilliantly mentioned,is like music. I need a lot of spiritual help right now so meetings, walking, music, time with friends, prayer and writing are all vital. Really glad you are writing and sharing all of this.

  • Great new perspective on getting out of our own heads. Whatever it takes. Thanks for sharing your personal struggle with it. I can relate. I like writing more than I will admit, because its more work, but I do get lost in my purpose and feel a sense of freedom. Never thought of it like this until now. Thanks my friend.

    • That last post you wrote Kip was lights out!

    • I understand that part about it being “work”. It’s that way for me sometimes too. Although once I start and ‘get into it’ it ceases being work and starts being meditation.

      What I think is ‘work’ is trying to keep up with social media. That side of this thing is killing me slowly.

  • I think this article made me laugh the most. My sponsor is always telling me to mediate and of course my thoughts are spinning while she is saying this until they spit out in my mind is she fucking crazy? Then the negotiations start until I agree to 10 whole minutes of mediation. So thank you for making me feel once again that I am not alone on this journey in recovery. Now I think it’s time to put more energy into journaling. Keep rocking it Mark!

  • It’s been a while since I’ve hit that sweet spot (Nirvana) of writing, but I know it for sure. It’s like you zen out and it’s like you’re watching yourself write. I get like that sometimes with running, or meditating (which I know some say is the purpose of meditation, but it’s more than that for me). I am starting to very, very slowly get back into the writing game, and yes, the visceral clacking of keys is enjoyable. I put music on sometimes, but mostly I keep the air quiet.

    Thanks for sharing this, Mark. I always love your work.

  • Writing is essential for me. Even when I am not actively writing I am writing posts in my head.

  • Namaste, my friend. Writing is a form of meditation that i use as well (though not as eloquently). It is here that I find the peace I never knew existed — through actively seeking calmness. Love your stuff!

  • You are such a beautiful writer!
    And when I write I am so much happier!

  • Awhile back I read 10% Happier by Dan Harris at the recommendation of a friend. It was an entertaining, interesting account of learning to meditate, which apparently does not come naturally to most. I still didn’t take it up but continued to journal/blog/write in what little “free” time I had and felt more than a little guilty about it. I think Paul was the first person to suggest that other things could be meditative, like running and writing. I feel the most blissed out after a walk outdoors, and the thoughts come pretty fast and furious then. To each his own, I guess, and hopefully it’s also about learning to listen to and accept what works for us (says this failed meditator). Great piece, Mark.

    • I like the term “blissed out”. That is the feeling right there. Thanks Kristen for visiting and commenting. I walked the dog yesterday with my wife. It was magic for some reason. If you haven’t read Sean Paul Mahoney’s stuff check out his site Seanlogues, for a cool piece he wrote this week on walking:

  • Cool thing about finding that groove to write in is that it actually IS a form of meditation called flow. There are a ton of really great articles online about the phenomenon. It’s real and I love when I find that groove too.

    Thanks for the nod to my blog. I really appreciate it!



    • Is “flow” similar in nature to being “In the Zone?” Like the sports metaphor. They feel very similar to me.

  • I get it. I listen for my “cue” to write, and ues sometimes I write for a bit before the “cue” comes. How I love the backspace button!
    I love coloring as meditation, while listening to good music (or a podcast), too. But, yeah, getting into the flow…that’s the shit right there.

    • You’ve been cued a lot recently I see. It’s been a writing rampage in that cabin in the woods! I’ve really enjoyed seeing that.

      • I think it must be that I’ve wandered into the midst of my tribe, after quite a while alone amongst the Normies. It’s very much a different conversation, with those of similar ilk. 🙂 And thanks.

  • Very good post Mark! I enjoyed every word. Ill be visiting here for sure. Also congrats on you 10 years! I read transformation is real. Awesome!

    • Thanks John! I appreciate that. I was happy to discover your writers space as well. Look forward to much more from you too!

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