The Monastery is normally seen as a noble place to lock ourselves in. Those who want to challenge their own urges and desires decide to, at the most extreme edge of the spectrum of action, lock themselves away so as to not distract themselves from this grand mission.
Given that we are unable to create these reinforced filters for ourselves in the modern age (or that doing so expenses too much energy and resources from our end), we can strive to do the same in the confines of our own home.
Introducing, the writing seclusion. This is when you lock yourself up in a location and start writing. it can be about anything. It can be about something that you were working on in the past, or in re-reading your past work, you want to continue or finish it.
The objectives are yours to comply with, but there are some principles to hold throughout the entire time.
In a writing seclusion session…
You can find the loudest silence.
It’s a strange form of meditation, when you hear nothing, not even your own voice saying something, because you recognize the weight of silence when all by yourself. There is no external noise coming in from the world, nor the chaos of social media, or anything else.
There is only you, and your own silence.
The Muse has power over you.
When creating anything, the greatest forms of art tend to be emergent. It is when the Muse feels like saying something to you that you beckon her call and create something in her honor.
But in Writing Seclusion, you are free from the distractions of the world. You are free from the internet, free of people’s woes, and you are free from obligation for the length of time you are locked away. It is not a detriment to your ability to be locked away - you are locking away society’s obligations for a noble cause.
And once that initial absence sets in, the Muse can finally speak clearly. The static of her voice is gone, and clarity is nothing but the constant conversations with Her.
That is all. That is all what seclusion is. It is finding a place to listen to her at your best condition.
You can pay attention to all of her nonverbal cues. You can listen to all that she has to say, and you can agree and disagree and play and respond in bursting emotions at her every word. And all of this can be documented without any distraction and hesitation.
Muse writing is what it is. Seclusion is letting go of the Self in surrender of what needs to be created. It is an ode to the temple of articulation, in surrender of the craft of creating.
You are left with intangible mirrors and understandings.
I think we are uncomfortable being by ourselves because in a room full of mirrors, we will become insane. There is nothing else to pay attention to except ourselves.
I’d be interested in being stuck in a room with nothing except my own reflection and see how far I get pushed before I cry, or break down, or be crouched under the madness of my own self.
Fearful we are of ourselves in signs of weakness.
Why is it necessary?
Mainly because past the barrier of discomfort in looking at our own reflections, they start to change shape and become our mentors that we aspire to be. Assuming that we shave the alacrity to do so.
Most sheep are lost when they arrive at this stage. For them, it is almost a certain impossibility that they cannot become their own teachers, parents, and mentors.
The very few, the mad, the strong, the brave, they can do this. This is what distinguishes them from others.
They can face their worst versions of themselves, and in doing so, once they do - nothing matters more than writing the next line. Reaching the end of the paragraph is breathing out, expelling the breath of negativity out on paper, and pushing that out of our bodies. We want to be left with nothing but things empowering us. To do so, it is like the gym: crush ourselves under our burdens, so we become strong enough to lift them up ourselves.
How do you set it up?
You can think of it as a holiday or commitment. A large appointment that you need to do, a form of retreat where you set the conditions yourself.
One thing to remember, is to commit. These conditions must be upheld, no exceptions.
The conditions are as follows:
- Write without internet. It’s not a requirement to create a paragraph while connected. Pull all your LAN cables if necessary.
- Minimize contact with others in your life. This is a seclusion, and during this time you have decided to carry the burdens and challenges of what you want to create. This means not carrying the burdens and challenges of those around you. I’m not saying to ignore your loved ones, but this is a form of commitment that involves you NOT ignoring yourself. So let them know beforehand that you will be secluding yourself for a long while. They will understand. You can at most give them an update of where you are for the time being. It will be fine.
- Get your bare necessities in order. Food, water, other amenities for the place that you’re staying in - let them be very accessible. You only want the bare minimum to sustain your writing ability.
- Make it very hard for yourself to get distracted. Your cybernetics depends on your environmental design, and your ability to reduce negative feedback loops. If you tend to get distracted by your phone, lock it away in a vault with a password that someone else is holding. Lock it away completely even. You can even use a dumbphone.
- State your intentions from two categories: Past and Future. Who you were before + who you want to become by the end. This is the only objective you need to meet, and this involves a lot of writing, no matter what it is. You can think of this as another form of intangible forcing function that no one else needs to care about. Maybe you want to only have one draft post out. Maybe you have a story to write. But the catch is, there is an ending to this seclusion, and you must spend all of your energy thinking about this intention from start to end without stopping. The madness is in the obsession, and you doing this attributes to your perseverance.
- Remind yourself of the boundaries that you set up yourself, constantly. Not only the locations, the designs in which you want to write at, and more, but more so the habitual reminder of why you are there in the first place. Maybe it’s a contractual agreement with yourself that you want to have printed on the wall. Maybe it’s a picture that represents your inner madness. However it is articulated, as long as it is within your line of sight, then it is the best way to remind you that you are here to write great things.
My own reflections on this
There is nothing that keeps you at peace better than some quiet and some time for yourself. The uncomfortable chaos from all of this noise is the obligation and the inability to ignore it. So if you are in a place where there is nothing to ignore, you will naturally want to listen to everything around you.
Even if it leads to nothing, but once again there is always wisdom in the silence. Once you have run out of things to listen to around you, you will start wanting to listen to the things you yourself want to say within you.
The internal world is a great place to be in - a paracosm of all wonders and imaginations. I only want to pay respect to such narratives with my own limited, mortal body.
If only I was physically immortal, then I can write all of these as much as I can.