Struggling with your writing?
Founder of The Mindful Moment, Dr. Alexandra Domelle shares ten helpful lessons you could learn from your cat to get you back on track
“Today is the day. Will it be a fresh start? A new adventure? The possibilities are endless, for you are Unlimited Potential. Just take that first step.” - Alexandra Domelle
1. Establish a routine
Ask any cat.
A routine is the best way to start the day. My cat, Angel begins her day at 4 a.m. without fail. Read: I begin my day at 4 a.m. without fail.
Observe your cat’s wake-up routine and use it as a template for your day.
Once you are awake, the first order of the day is meditation. This is non-negotiable. You can choose any style.
Feel free to emulate your cat’s approach to meditation; after all, they are creatures of Zen. Angel, for instance, prefers her signature purring meditation, which shares similarities with Transcendental and Buddhist meditation.
The outcome is a deeply relaxed and contemplative Being, ready to unleash its creative genius.
3. Enjoy your meals, starting with breakfast
Cook something wonderful. Create a masterpiece. Captivate your taste buds. Writing isn’t the only realm of creativity.
Why have a bowl of the same boring slop every day? With a few minutes of preparation ahead of time, you can have a gastronomic delight that entices your appetite and delights your palate.
If possible, incorporate as much fish as you can into your meals. Salmon, for instance, which happens to be Angel’s favourite, not only contains brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids but is delicious grilled, poached or sautéed. Oh, and once your meal is ready, enjoy it.
Eat mindfully, savouring the flavours.
4. Stay away from your smartphone and laptop
Mornings are not for answering emails, checking Facebook, posting to Instagram or scrolling through Twitter.
Nor are they for watching television. In fact, you would be much better off not having a television at all, like us.
Mornings are reserved for family time, so the best thing you can do right now is to give your cat a belly rub, or two or three.
5. Be alert to new ideas
Playtime with your cat is one of the best sources of Inspiration. You don’t need expensive toys; Angel’s favourite ‘toy’ at the moment is a silk ribbon from a bouquet of roses.
Be open to ideas that occur while you are in this alert, yet relaxed state, as you spend time with your cat.
Take cues from your cat’s behaviour. See how laid back she looks? And yet one glance at her tail will tell you a different story.
6. Allow the story to develop
Once you become aware of an idea, let it come to you. Do not jump on it straight away and start scribbling madly.
Writing is a lot like catching a mouse, as any cat will tell you. Once spotted, you have to entice in your prey, without appearing desperate.
Let the story reveal itself to you. Pounce too early, and it will simply vanish.
7. Stay in the moment
Once you have connected with a story, stay with it. Your mind will try to distract you with all kinds of thoughts that have nothing to do with the present moment.
Thoughts like where you left your cat’s favourite blanket (I think I left Angel’s on the seat in the garden) and what to feed your cat for lunch (Salmon Pâté?)
8. Use different tools
Enhance your creativity by incorporating different tools and techniques.
Take photos of your cat, if she is a willing model like Angel is, and use these as writing prompts. Plant a catnip garden and use feline behavioural analysis to deepen your understanding of character development.
Even if these do not improve your writing, you will at least have some Instagram-worthy photos of your cat and a dedicated play area for your furry companion. Both will bring their own rewards.
9. Take a nap
Writing is intense work. Build in enough time for one nap, if not several throughout the day. Look upon these as moments to relax and recharge.
You already know from previous experience that Inspiration refuses to be controlled, manipulated or coerced. And it cares even less for your tantrums. So do what your cat does; find a safe, quiet space and tuck yourself in for some ‘me’ time. Oh, make sure you leave room for your cat.
Speaking of naps, I am off to mine, once I have retrieved Angel’s blanket from the garden.