Reflections

Dear Dr. Ding: How Do I Clear My Mind?

First of all I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.

I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?

Thanks! 

Dear Person:

I took your question from a comments section, and wasn’t sure how to address you. I was going to call you Quilts McGee but decided that sounded corny! Anyway, thanks! I love getting reader and viewer mail.

Here at the Dingatorium, the answer to your question varies a lot, according to my mood, energy level, and whether or not my pants are bunchy. Bunchy pants are right out, I tell you. Don’t even try it.

I’m all-too-familiar with your dilemma, that of the blank page.

Those first 10-15 minutes can be mined for treasure that may not be obvious until later. What I have to literally force myself to do at times is to just write a bunch of gobbledegük, a page of literal nonsense, until something useful comes out. It’s akin to priming a pump; at first all that comes out is dust and sand, then silt, and then finally clear, drinkable water. It’s a bit like stretching or doing warmups before a sportsballing or whatever Curves is or a basketball game.

Some days it feels like it’s all sand. And those days really suck. But the nifty part about it is that you’ve still written something. The author Julia Cameron has a similar exercise called Morning Pages, where you write your stream of consciousness into three handwritten pages each and every morning like asap after you get up. And this works for a lot of people.

Dr. Ding, however, is not a morning person. Dr. Ding not even a functional, recognizable human being until at least two cups of coffee, a shower, the application of triple-scented freesia lotion, some sage burning, at least five solid minutes of dog snuggles, a buncha invocations to higher beings, a Lesser Banishing Ritual to get rid of Donald Trump’s nasty ass, a brief inspection and watering of my sorry It’s A Charlie Brown Christmas-lookin garden, and something to eat. Fact.

I don’t do mentally strenuous tasks first thing in the morning – that’s just madness. I wait until I’m fully powered up, that’s what works for me, and therefore my best writing time is usually late afternoon to early evening.

Dr. Ding hand wrote a megaton of progress and chart notes over the last 25 years of clinical practice, and can no longer read her own handwriting, so it’s very little handwritten stuff for me. Fact.

Therefore, I spew out via MacBook whatever effluvia float to the topmost layer of my mind first. Gotta prime the pump in order to get things going. I just start typing.

That said, some days I do re-read what I wrote the day before, but I’ve found if I do that too much, I end up kinda getting stuck in these endless editing loops and not really generating much else. Turd polishing, basically. For me it’s usually an avoidance mechanism. So sometimes if I catch myself doing too much of this, I’ll just get to that next blank spot and write nonsense until my conscious mind gets out of the way.

This is the last part; if I can remember to zone out while I’m writing the gunk out of the system, I think I produce my best writing…when my subconscious mind is free to just roll because the conscious mind tends to get in the way. Whether it’s fiction or blog posts or short eBooks or whatevah, staying in that kind of relaxed, neutral cognitive and energetic space really helps.

Those are the main things: just start writing, avoid editing, relax into a near-trance state.

I hope you enjoy your writing and that you let me know what you’ve written!

Bestest,

Dr. Ding

Midweek Business

Dear Sexy People:

I am heading up to the mountains this weekend to hang out with a dear friend plus a new friend I will meet today. You can tell I’m a classic extrovert because since I’ve been out of prison, a stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet. We are going to just relax and soak in the beauty. And by beauty I mean three bathtubs fulls of wine.

No but really, I may or not be posting a lot over the next few days. I’m going to follow my own goddamn advice and unplug a little bit. We will laugh, kvetch, shop, eat, drink, read, maybe play some boardgames, and just enjoy the scenery. I, for one, really enjoy a Classic Booty Jams dance party, so I may try to get that on. I also enjoy crossword puzzles, yelling at the TV, and Werther’s Originals, so shit’s gonna get real live most likely.

Sometimes when I’m relaxed I feel like writing and sometimes I don’t. In the meantime and in case you missed it, this is my YouTube channel. And you should probably subscribe because you don’t want to miss any of my off-the-cuff bullshit pearls of Dingish wisdom.

Also in the meantime, if you want to order a reading (see BOOK A CONSULTATION above), you sure can, but I won’t be able to get to you until Monday.

Last, I left clean laundry in the dryer, and if you could water the seedlings at night that would be awwwwesome.

Send Me Your Questions!

Hello, gentle reader. Back in the old-timey days over here at Ask Dr. Ding, I used to ride a ridiculously oversized Victorian bicycle and sport voluminous Mary Todd Lincoln crinolines and receive actual questions from actual readers about all sorts of topics related to relationships, work, love, death, laudanum intoxication, you name it. And I miss it.

Somewhere along the line, I started blogging about a lot of other stuff, like my love of drag queens, Tater Tot casserole, and terrible movies.

But something is missing, and that something is you.

So. PLEASE write me questions to which I can respond either on here, or in my videos, for you see I stink at groveling, so you’re just going to have to humor me. See what I mean? I’m think I’m over here being all beseeching and whatnot, but I can’t quite get the right tone. But I’m so for real. Write meh. All authors are guaranteed anonymity, and if you don’t provide a groovy pseudonym I’ll invent one for you.

You can go up to the really sexy menu bar at the top, underneath the candle pic, and click Talk To Me, or you can just click on this, and it shall take you there on the wings of eagles or some shit like that.

Or, hit me up at askdrding (at) gmail.com

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