About the Book

The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World

Book Description

Proposing that contemplation is an active practice that can take place anywhere, anytime, Brenda Miller and Holly J. Hughes share experiences that have helped them bring mindfulness into their writing. Each chapter includes suggested activities, offering writers innovative ways to:

  • create physical and mental space for contemplation and writing
  • heighten awareness as a basis for writing
  • use the ancient art of Lectio Divina (sacred reading)
  • practice writing that articulates the concrete, tactile, sensory world
  • take risks in writing
  • explore personal spiritual traditions in writing
  • pay attention to sensuous details in writing
  • practice gratitude through writing
  • awaken writing through travel, animals, food, and the physical body
  • prepare for writing through ritual
  • write in community

At the heart of any contemplative practice is the ability to slow down and simply observe what is happening, both inside and outside the self. The Pen and the Bell articulates not only the value of slowing down, but how to slow down. The authors describe the power of detailed observation, and encourage their readers to cultivate in themselves the patience for such watchfulness. Through these practices, readers will understand how the big issues—love, death, joy, despair—can be accessed through the concrete, tactile, sensory world, and they will have new avenues to express that world in their writing.