This morning, once I was showered and dressed, I made a cup of my favourite tea (an Oolong from Vietnam) and took it onto the balcony outside my study. Relaxing into a lounger, my face warmed by the winter sun, I allowed myself to become aware of my body, hear the urban sounds coming from the street, and noticed the thoughts floating into my mind, before letting them go.
This has become a bit of a habit lately. I do it before I switch on my computer. And, if the sun isn’t shining, I just sit quietly on the sofa in my study instead. Only after this ritual do I get out my pen and paper (yes) and start writing.
I know I'm not the only one to practise sitting quietly. Meditators do it, and Quakers do it, each for their own reasons. A couple of years ago I came across a nice phrase: ‘sit spot’, meaning a place where you go regularly to sit and do nothing, just be calm, at approximately the same time each day.
But sitting-quietly-before-writing goes one step further. It's not only calming. It also helps me find out what interests me most on this particular day. That then guides my writing, which in turn allows me to get clearer about what I love writing about, and what might then become a lively read.