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How Meditation Can Help You Concentrate and Write

The earliest written record of meditation dates back to 1500 BCE India in the Hindu Vedas. Meditation has been practiced in many places in the east for health, religious, and spiritual purposes.

Mindfulness meditation is growing in popularity in America for its demonstrated health benefits, such as reducing high blood pressure, chronic pain, and anxiety. From walking meditation to spiritual meditation, there are many different types of meditation. 

Meditation involves:

  • Deep breathing 
  • Focused attention 
  • Quiet setting
  • Open attitude
  • Body awareness

Specific forms of meditation can involve:

  • Prayer 
  • A comfortable position 
  • Mantras (Chanting) 
  • Movement/Walking
  • Reading reflection 
  • Internally focused gratitude 

For a more in-depth understanding, read about the different forms of meditation here.

The ultimate goal of meditation is Mindfulness: to have awareness of your mind and body. When thoughts try to disturb you, let them pass while keeping your focus turned to your physical presence. This moment to regain focus and improve concentration makes it easier to focus your attention after the session ends. 

3 main problems writers face can be helped by meditation: 

  1. Procrastination 

You sit down in front of your desk, uncap your pen, then realize you didn’t pour a cup of coffee (you can’t write without coffee). You write the date on the top page only to stop again, this time, because there’s no background music. 

Feeling overwhelmed can take the form of procrastination. Meditation prompts you to shift your mental focus to your physical presence. As your body relaxes, your mind in turn relaxes, making concentration easier after the session.

  1. Being Uninspired 

Sometimes you are stuck with the project you’re working on. Sometimes you can’t decide on an idea, or stare at the page and have no idea what to write. 

Reading someone else’s writing before meditation is a great inspirational tool. In your session, you can reflect on style, meaning– whatever draws you to the piece. A free writing exercise after the session can help you draw from work you admire.

  1. Distractions 

It’s easy to be preoccupied by external distractions: the traffic outside your window, your phone buzzing. 

Each time you meditate, you practice your ability to concentrate. Like anything practiced, concentration becomes easier with time. Making mediation a routine leads to a better sense of concentration extending into your daily life. 

Mindful’s “How to Meditate” article includes a 1, 10, and 15-minute meditation session for beginners.

The app Headspace offers 10 free beginner sessions (customizable to 5, 10, or 20- minutes). To combat anxiety amid the pandemic, their “Navigating Change” course provides another 10 free sessions. 

If writing is a daily practice for you, try incorporating 10 minutes of meditation beforehand.

 So often our minds are preoccupied with the sensations defining our external worlds. When was the last time you took a ten-minute time-out for your mind? 

– Charleigh

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In Remembrance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
March 15, 1933–September 18, 2020

The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an advocate for equality and a force to be reckoned with. It’s our time to take up the mantle and continue the fight.

Here are 10 iconic quotes to remember RBG by:

  1. “My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”
  2. “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
  3. “Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”
  4. “Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.”
  5. “I don’t say women’s rights—I say the constitutional principle of the equal citizenship stature of men and women.”
  6. “Feminism [is the] notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents and not be held back by man made barriers.”
  7. “If you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his, and I think that made all the difference for me.”
  8. “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”
  9. “People ask me sometimes… ‘When will there be enough women on the court?’ And my answer is: ‘When there are nine.’”

Lastly, RBG had this to say about her legacy:

  1. “To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.”

We commemorate the late Supreme Court Justice and her 27-year tenure with words. However, we have a duty to go further. Now, it’s time to turn words into action.

Here are 5 unbiased and dependable resources to use and support:

  1. IssueVoter.org
  2. Vote411.org
  3. RockTheVote.org
  4. Politifact.com
  5. Vote.org

-Cassidy

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The Women That Got Me Here: Why I Will Remember My Time at CambridgeEditors Forever

As my internship with CambridgeEditors comes to an end, I wanted to reflect on the women who inspired me to get here. In high school English classes, I was primarily introduced to white, male authors, who I enjoyed but had no connection to. As my career and passion for the literary world progresses, I feel it is only appropriate to discuss the female authors that made me want to keep going. 

It all started with Joyce Carol Oates and her hauntingly beautiful writing, particularly in her short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” and her novel We Were the Mulvaneys. With her portrayal of teenage culture in a young woman’s life and discussions of sexual harassment and assault, Oates helped me understand that my feelings are not only valid but important. An incredibly prolific author, Oates has written plays, poetry, short fiction, and fifty eight novels. She is in her early eighties, and as she continues to write, she continues to amaze me. 

Next came Zadie Smith. Her first novel, White Teeth, portrayed a Bangladeshi family and a biracial family living in London in the 70s. She discussed the Bangladeshi family’s strong ties to Islam, and by doing so she made me realize that my Palestinian heritage was something to be written about. After the booming success of White Teeth, Smith went on to write topical essays for the New Yorker, short fiction, and multiple novels. 

My love for Oates’s depiction of womanhood and Smith’s emphasis on the importance of heritage led me to perhaps my most favorite author of all time, Louise Erdrich. A Native American author, Erdrich’s novels typically take place on reservations; my favorite book by her, The Round House, is set on the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. The novel explores rape against Native women, coming of age stories, and the desire for justice in the Native American community. Erdrich has continued to write multiple novels and currently owns Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore in Minneapolis focusing on Native American Literature. 

I am deeply grateful for the women who inspired me to study literature, and I am equally grateful for the women I was privileged enough to work with this summer: my fellow intern, Amala, Founder of CambridgeEditors, Dr. Weiner, and CambridgeEditors’ Administrative and Editor Manager, Lexie. My summer of collaborating with three of the most intelligent and determined women I know will forever hold a place in my heart, and I will always look back on it fondly. As Joyce Carol Oates said in After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away, “See, people come into your life for a reason. They might not know it themselves, why. You might not know it. But there’s a reason. There has to be.” 

Kelsey Allen

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CambridgeEditors: A Home Unlike Any Other

When I first began at CambridgeEditors, otherwise known as CE, I was especially excited by the prospect of working with Lexie Axon and Dr. Harte Weiner. I was certain it would be an extraordinary experience; however, I was wrong — it surpassed all my expectations. 

My first day on the job had my stomach full of butterflies creating a storm. The very first assignment I had was to write a blog post which had me stumped for a while. I remember cross-checking with Lexie about the topic, and in a span of two hours, I had written two paragraphs. Each sentence underwent my backspace bar as I agonized over every single word. When I finally submitted it, I was happy with it but not completely satisfied, something all writers feel about their work.

However, as the frequency of the blog posts increased, I found myself eager to express myself, and soon, the keyboard couldn’t keep up with my thoughts. The feedback given by Lexie and Dr. Weiner was invaluable and they showed me how just one word can enhance an entire paragraph! Not only did my writing style improve considerably, but my experiences as a reader too, evolved. 

Each day was unique and challenging. I worked on social media posts and even tried my hand at marketing. As I could work at my own pace, I was able to explore my creativity and take the projects in the direction that felt best for the company. The Zoom meetings were tremendously fun, and we were always in danger of going overtime! We would go off-topic several times and end up talking about how the WiFi sucks or if we could tackle another project on our already overflowing plate.

For me, the only disappointment was that I never got a chance to visit the actual office space with that customary cup of coffee and being surrounded by the wonderful dogs. Nevertheless, Lexie and Dr. Weiner always made me feel like a part of CE even if we were miles apart! I still cannot fathom how three months just flew by. But I do know that I will carry with me every single moment spent here, albeit virtually!

At the end of each day, we would submit a running list of our tasks; and to conclude this, here’s my running list: 

Completed

  • 10 blog posts, around a dozen FB posts, and clean-up of the WordPress site
  • A lifelong connection with Dr. Weiner, Lexie, and Kelsey, my fellow intern!
  • An unforgettable experience at CE

To Do

  • Thank CE for making me feel at home, especially in these tough times
  • Say goodbye to the wonderful team (for now)!

Amala Reddie

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Hollihock Writers Conference 2016

This past weekend, CambridgeEditors had the pleasure of attending the second annual Hollihock Literary Conference  from August 26th-28th  in New Bedford, MA. This year’s theme was “What Scares You?” encouraging the artist in all of us to get out of our comfort zone and #WriteOn.

Our own Dr. Harte Weiner lead a poetry class on Friday night in which she read pieces from some of her favorite voices in poetry, including Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Sharon Olds and Henri Cole. Focusing on the school of Confessional Poetry using both free verse and formal poetic structures; themes hovered over mother and child relationships and other personal conversations from the heart. She was pleased to receive positive feedback from many of those in attendance.

On day two, interns Emily and Margeaux joined Dr. Weiner and fellow intern Silas to lead a discussion about editing strategies. The audience was given a chance to edit a sample short story taken anonymously from our archive. The interns then shared the edits they had made and discussed the key elements of professional editing. Dr. Weiner read a few pieces of her poetry, including a lovely piece dedicated to the interns!

 

Hollihock was a wonderful opportunity for us at CambridgeEditors to network with other members of the Massachusetts literary community. We were able to sit in on other events, including a class on journaling and strategies for daily writing, a conversation and Q+A with the Poet Laureate of Boston, and a lecture about authenticity in YA fiction. A great time was had by all.

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(See more photos on Hollihock’s Facebook and Instagram)

-Margeaux, Intern

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“Counterparts” — James Joyce

James Joyce, possibly the greatest writer who will ever live. Great choice biblioklept!!

Biblioklept

“Counterparts” by James Joyce

THE bell rang furiously and, when Miss Parker went to the tube, a furious voice called out in a piercing North of Ireland accent:

“Send Farrington here!”

Miss Parker returned to her machine, saying to a man who was writing at a desk:

“Mr. Alleyne wants you upstairs.”

The man muttered “Blast him!” under his breath and pushed back his chair to stand up. When he stood up he was tall and of great bulk. He had a hanging face, dark wine-coloured, with fair eyebrows and moustache: his eyes bulged forward slightly and the whites of them were dirty. He lifted up the counter and, passing by the clients, went out of the office with a heavy step.

He went heavily upstairs until he came to the second landing, where a door bore a brass plate with the inscription Mr. Alleyne. Here he halted, puffing with…

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Daniel, Silas and Laura at our booth at the MLA Convention!

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January 4, 2013 · 7:28 pm