Mind & Body

The Secret to Feeling Centered

No time to meditate? Weave a practice into your workday.
The Secret to Feeling Centered
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My Meditation: Revising
When I write a first draft, I am going by feel and instinct, grappling in the dark. I vastly prefer revising. That’s when some kind of transformation occurs, something that can feel almost magical. I become, for a few weeks at a time, subsumed by the book. For days on end, I feel not only too distracted but almost too porous for regular life; I can’t do much but work on the novel. I’ll put a pot of coffee on and then get so absorbed in what I’m doing that I’ll forget all about it for hours. I’m just lost in my inner world and the world of the book. And in this state, I am able to see the whole book clearly, almost feel it, as if it were a living part of me. Extraneous sentences jump out at me. I begin to sense, in a visceral way, a natural order and shape that the novel seems to want—it feels almost as if it has a will of its own and it’s my job simply to pay very close attention. Radical changes, like moving a scene from one section to another, occur to me, and make sense immediately. It’s thrilling. I don’t think I could stand to be in such a single-minded state always, but I do treasure those periods of total focus.—Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., New York City