Writing Druidry and Meditation

When I started leading meditation groups, I was the most experienced person we had at meditation, but that didn’t mean a lot. While I’d done a lot of solitary meditation, I had never led anything quite like it before and started hunting around for books and pointers. It was long enough ago that I didn’t just default to searching the net! I got a copy of Pete Jennings book on meditation, which was useful for inspiration but didn’t give me everything I was looking for.

Last winter my emotional state was such that I couldn’t write fiction. I couldn’t tell stories about what was happening to me – it was all too immediate and raw. I also couldn’t think about any kind of emotional narrative that was separate from my experience, for all the same reasons. But writing is what I do. It’s a big part of who I am. Not to be writing is to be lost and miserable. That was the critical prompt for deciding I should shift from fiction towards non-fiction. I knew about meditation than anything else, so it was the obvious route to go. It worked, and the words poured out of me.

The call to be creative, and to use that creativity in service of my community, is a big part of my druidry. The bard path is central to how I live, and the bardic oaths I have sworn were all about the soulful, productive use of ability. I’ve always wanted to create things that made a difference to others, so the need to share what I do is very important to me. If I’m not being creative, I get depressed. So to a certain extent, Druidry and Meditation was a way of coping when I couldn’t do much else. I had no idea if anyone would want it, but to my delight, O Books did, and I’d landed at the right moment to catch the arrival of Moon Books.

When I write fiction I don’t tend to plan a great deal. I may have an overall shape for the narrative, or a sense of how it ends, but not always that much. I like making things up as I go along, and get bored easily with too much structure. For non-fiction work I tend to plan the chapter headings, and sketch the content before I start, but that’s about all. One of the consequences is that I can get a fair way into a project and then realise I need to do extra research. For me, that’s part of the fun, but it also means there’s no way I’d commit to a deadline before the book as finished. I find it hard to predict how long the work might take. In the past I’ve worked to very tight deadlines – I used to write custom fiction where stories had to be created in about two weeks. I once wrote a novel to meet an eight week deadline, but it nearly drove me mad. I could do it, but would prefer not to where my own work is concerned. Pressure and creativity don’t mix well for me.

There are a lot of days when I prefer writing non-fiction – this blog being a significant manifestation. I find making up characters, scenarios and plots easy enough, but that’s increasingly insufficient. I have to feel that a story is for something. It needs to be more than a way of killing time or a stab at earning some money. This represents a cycle of changes for me. When I started writing, I was full of aspiration, a desire to make change, and more importantly, a belief that I could do something meaningful through my work. Years of rejections and the attendant frustrations shifted me towards a desire to get something, anything published. I think a lot of authors go through this. The balance between following your muse and being sellable are not always compatible things.

As I moved into more commercially viable genres – chiefly erotica- I gave up on the idea of writing something that would change the world, and settled for writing something that would allow me to earn a living. Over the years my inspiration waned and the joy I took in my work decreased. I kept finding that the kinds of stories I felt driven to tell just were not the ones people apparently wanted to buy, and I started to feel lost and demoralised. Tom and I came under a lot of pressure to turn our work into some in of shiny blockbuster box ticking exercise, and I got to the point of wondering if I should give it all up and go and stack supermarket shelves.

In this last year, I’ve found Moon Books as a home for my druid work, and we’ve found Archaia as a home for the comic. Both publishers have been lovely, and inspiring to deal with, supporting what we do. Finding a readership here, and for the webcomic has given me the confidence to think that I can write something that matters. I can tell soul stories alongside the non-fiction.

The mainstream is full of pressures to conform and dire warnings about how doomed you are if you don’t do all the same things as everyone else. Fighting that is hard. But it is possible. If you like what someone does, tell them, it will help sustain them. The feedback on this blog has made a world of difference to me. Fighting alone is grim, but when you know there are kindred spirits out there, it gets that bit easier to keep going. I’ve come full circle to a place of thinking there is a point to all this after all.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

2 responses to “Writing Druidry and Meditation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: