I'm Aspen Bassett, author and meditation expert. I write about characters with extraordinary powers because I believe we are all capable of much more than we accept. Have any questions about the writing process or meditation techniques? Ask me anything!

aspenbassett
Jun 9, 2018

Are you struggling to know what to do next in your writing or creative process? Are you curious about how meditation can help you reach your writing goals? By the time I received my Bachelor's in Creative Writing, I had already published three short stories and a novel. Now, my latest book, A Penny Lost, is book one of a trilogy, with a sequel soon to come. During all this, I also received my certifications in Women's Meditation, Hypnotherapy, and Reiki. When I'm not writing, I'm researching the spiritual side of health. Both writing and meditation strengthen the power of imagination which can be vital to success. Feel free to ask me anything.

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What is the difference between meditation and prayer?
Jun 16, 11:08AM EDT0
Would you say that meditation is the perfect cure for writer’s block?
Jun 16, 11:06AM EDT0
Aside from meditation, Reiki and related topics, what are your other personal hobbies and interests?
Jun 16, 10:02AM EDT0
What do you enjoy the most about writing?
Jun 16, 7:17AM EDT0
Do you feel that everyone is creative, or is creativity something that only a few people can cultivate?
Jun 11, 9:00PM EDT0

Definitely everyone is creative. I think when most people think of the word creative, they think of certain types of art like painting or writing or more artistic adventures but there's more to it than that. Being creative is thinking outside the box, wonderment, and letting your imagination take the lead. It's a way of thinking and therefore comes from a part of the brain. I like to think of it like a muscle because the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

I was always more naturally creative so it was the logic side of my brain which I needed to strengthen. I did puzzles and logic riddles to study and become more logically thinking in that way but the opposite is true too. People who are more logic-based can practice creativity and strengthen that muscle as well. It just takes practice and being open to the possibility that you might actually be super creative. 

Jun 14, 11:11AM EDT0
If you could give people just one or two tips or techniques to incorporate their mindfulness practice into writing, what would those be?
Jun 11, 7:51PM EDT0

Listening. There are a lot of visualizations and techniques for meditation but the most important one is listening. Close your eyes, let your mind go blank, and just listen. You'll be surprised what you hear. This can be a great way of overcoming stress or any physical or mental blocks preventing you from writing your best stuff. And respect whatever it is you hear. I can't tell you how many times I've told friends to take a step back and meditate, then they tell me they got the impression they're too overworked but, instead of doing something about it, they add more to their plate. If your body is telling you you're too tired, go to sleep early or plan for naps. If its saying you're too overworked, take a step back from something. Plan for moments of self care (not self indulgence! Self care is for the long term health rather than instant gratification). The best way to be mindful is to stop, listen, and act on what you heard.If you can do this, you can create healthy habits and become a long term writer.

Jun 12, 10:45AM EDT0
How do you bring yourself back to your active self when you’re not feeling it? How do you put energy into your characters?
Jun 11, 7:18PM EDT0

Well I have to ask myself why am I not feeling it? Is it because I'm too stressed, over worked, is doubt preventing me from picking up the pen? Am I too tired and my body is taking a stand? I've found that when I'm at my healthiest self holistically, I don't have trouble being my most active self so if I can't, my body or soul is trying to tell me something. That's what makes meditation so important. You can figure out those answers much more quickly.

For example, once I had an extremely difficult time writing a short story for a competition. I had the time but whenever I sat down on the computer to write, I ended up on Pinterest or just plain glaring at the screen. I resented it and I hadn't even written it yet. But then I took a step back, cleared my mind and asked "okay, what's going on here?" Turns out, I wasn't getting enough sleep so my exhuasted body was like "girl, I'm done! Lay down now or I'm gonna make you stumb your toe!" So I decided to respect the answer I'd gotten, took a nap, and was able to write the short story in one sitting later that day.

The key to putting energy into your characters is understanding them. How do they dress and talk? If it was them grocery shopping instead of you, what would happen? There's ways of creating character development throughout our day by just asking those questions and, if you're confident enough, acting it out as if you were them. The more you understand your character, the more details will slip into the text and the more alive your character will become.

Jun 12, 10:39AM EDT0
For your trilogy, did you need to make any kind of research previous to your writing process?
Jun 11, 6:05AM EDT0

A lot of history research somes into play when making my plot line, trying to find original sources instead of just what one website online claimed. Sometimes the research I collected didn't make it into the story but it was really comforting during the process to have a collection of facts all ready for me to browse. I also did research about how people who see auras and chakras view those energies. I personally feel energies and don't see them so, in order to create the lead character, I needed to do research.

Jun 12, 10:22AM EDT0
Why are meditation and mindfulness especially important for young writers?
Jun 11, 5:39AM EDT0

Meditation offers a perfect combination of creativity strengthening, which all writers and artists need, while also providing much needed self care. Writing is a great job but all the ups and downs can get to a person. If young writers have learned through meditation to control and manipulate their energies to be their healthiest, happiest selves, then writing becomes half the battle it could have been.

Doubt stops writers more than anything else and is the leading cause of writers block. Doubt and fear. Both can be knocked out of your system through careful meditation. Now, if a writer doesn't have doubt or fear? They're basically unstoppable. The younger you are when you start studying meditation, the earlier you start living life the way you want to live it.

Jun 12, 10:17AM EDT0
How can writers stimulate their creative side? What techniques do you recommend?
Jun 11, 2:05AM EDT0

I recommend doing something you enjoy, something slightly out of your comfort zone maybe? I use music and drawing to relax and let go of the day so I can access my creative side. If you're working on a writing project, or any creative project for that matter, but you don't feel the creativity stirring, you can start a new random bit of art just for the sake of exploring. Once you feel the creativity back in action, then return to your main project.

I will do that sometimes. If I'm just not feeling it, I'll pull out my journal and write whatever dialogue comes along until I feel ready to move back to my original writing.

Last edited @ Jun 12, 10:18AM EDT.
Jun 12, 10:12AM EDT0
If you could give an advice to young writers aspiring to give their first steps into the literary world, what would it be?
Jun 10, 10:31PM EDT0

Exercise the gentle art of patience. Take it one step at a time and reward yourself daily for your great efforts. Surround yourself with positive energies because writing is a long road. There's ups and downs. You'll do more faster by developing a daily habit of writing and outreach to find publishers. That being said, make sure your daily habit never maxes you out. Something I've noticed with young writers, myself included, is that we tend to burn ourselves out before we can get much progress. Creating your own writing career works well with the turtle and the hare story. It's better to go slow and consistant than try to rush through. Enjoy the process! :)

Jun 12, 10:07AM EDT0
Do you think you could write about anything or are there certain subjects that you wouldn’t like to tackle?
Jun 10, 9:59AM EDT0

I could write anything but I doubt I could write it well without a lot of research. There are subjects I'm passionate about and I've studied so I feel confident adding my voice to those collections. However, I do understand that there are some stories better left for others more qualified to write. I'm all for stepping outside of the comfort zone within reason. Because unless it's something I've completely made up, like a different world or a fictional language, someone will find the mistakes. Of course mistakes are a part of life but I'd rather be told I had a radio in a historical scene before radios were invented than be told I misrepresented an entire culture. So I guess the subjects off the table are the ones I can't properly research.

Jun 10, 12:02PM EDT0
Has publishing your first book changed your views about the process of writing?
Jun 10, 6:41AM EDT0

Publishing my first book truly did change my views about the process of writing. I realized it is not a solitary art but rather the combined efforts of mutually passionate people. It helped me form a community of friends to help balance the sudden onpour of positive and negative feedback. Wierdly, I've also found that negative feedback was way easier for me to handle than positive. I'm still trying to get used to the idea that people actually like what I have to say.

Getting my book published helped me realize that writing is a career choice. It takes time and effort. I had to learn to make a regular schedule for it (still working on that one) instead of just randoming picking it up as a hobby.

Jun 10, 11:49AM EDT0
Do you believe that each person has a unique extraordinary power? Why?
Jun 9, 7:28PM EDT0

Yes I do because I haven't met a single person yet who didn't have something to offer. I've met people who didn't know they had power, people who have gone their whole life being told they had little to no value and believed it. Saying a person doesn't have power is like saying the sun is cold. It goes against daily proof.

One thing I learned from hypnotherapy is that most of our limited beliefs came into our lives between the ages of birth to seven. The biggest danger to limited beliefs is, like the name states, it tricks the person into believing they are not as strong and capable as they truly are. Now, I've met and worked with people who were capable of finding those limited beliefs, rewiring the brain, and completely releasing the person from those beliefs. Then the person goes about their lives, doing what feels natural, and ends up completely changes their community for the better. That person becomes unstoppable and heroically supportive because they realized they had an extraordinary power which only they could share.

You definitely have extraordinary powers and I do mean the plural. Not just one. Finding those powers can be a endlessly exciting and limit-breaking journey that can start with just a few questions:

If I didn't believe in all those "truths" telling me I can't, how strong could I become?

If all the barriers and blocks disappeared from my life, what could I do?

Jun 10, 11:44AM EDT0
How has Reiki helped you personally? What are the emotional benefits of this practice?
Jun 9, 6:54PM EDT0

Reiki helps me regain control over my life. At night, I would Reiki myself and get rid of all the negativity I'd been exposed to all day. My job is costumer service so I can get exposed to a lot of negativity real fast. But once I do Reiki, I know those negativities are no longer a part of my reality. If there was an event I was nervous about, I could Reiki it beforehand and it almost always went smoothly. Even if it didn't, I was in the perfect state to handle the difficulties and keep it from getting worse.

Just as an example: One time I had to go visit schools and give a presentation. The first time I did it, it didn't go well. The kids were crazy, the teachers didn't know what was going on, and I just said my piece and ran out of there. The second day, I remembered Reiki just as I was stepping into the door and did a quick 30 second meditation. The kids were more interested and these teachers at least remembered I was coming. That night, I did a 20 minute Reiki session on the following event, filling it with love and a feeling of safety. The next day, everything went perfectly. The teachers already had everything set up, the kids were engaged and asked the perfect questions to bring out what the library offers. If I had written a script, it couldn't have gone more smoothly. They seemed more interested in the information than the candy and many signed up for the summer program. I went through the rest of my day relieved, excited, and feeling supported by the universe. That's the emotional benefits of Reiki.

Jun 10, 11:24AM EDT0
How can a person unlock the extraordinary power that lies inside them?
Jun 9, 6:48PM EDT0

True power comes from balance. There's four major aspects to each person: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. If all these needs are being healthily met, you're on your way to reaching full power. Which is easier said that done. Personally for me, I started with Reiki and great hypnotherapy sessions which helped me spiritually and that snowballed into the other areas of my life but I know it's different for everyone so explore different types of passionate work until you find one that speaks to you.

There's one rule of thumb toward finding your extraordinary power and that is be true to yourself. What are you passionate about? I grew up passionate about superheroes and it was that belief that I was capable for more which kept me investigating. What makes you happy? That's where your power lies. So explore, chase, and learn more until you're an expert in that exact thing which fills your heart with joy.

Jun 10, 11:13AM EDT0
What do you do when you are stuck on ideas and can't seem to move your characters forward in the plot?
Jun 9, 2:45PM EDT0

Usually if I'm stuck it means that there's something off in what I've planned or written previously. At those times, I take a step back and think "how can this be better?" If the plot doesn't inspire me to keep writing, it's not going to inspire the reader to keep reading so I make sure to make the changes needed to enjoy what I do.

A quick brainstorming tip I read somewhere was to make a list of 10 possibilities. Just write them all down, the crazies and the known duds. Don't think about it, just write. For example. Say I was writing a book about a detective stuck on the roof of a building. How does she get down?

1. She calls for backup

2. She takes urban climbing gear out of her bag and climbs down like a ninja

3. She bangs on the door until someone comes

4. She shoots the lock once she knows the way is clear

5. She calls her handy sidekick, McFly, an extraterrestrial eagle the size of a car, who carries her to their shared base

6. She makes a deal with the one who locked the door, guess they're working together now

.... and so on and so on until I find one I like. It's good to do at least ten but sometimes I had to go to twenty before I found an idea I liked. That's a great, quick way of figuring out what you really want out of your plot.

Jun 10, 11:06AM EDT0
How do you stimulate creativity and an environment that puts your mind in an inspired mood?
Jun 9, 12:15PM EDT0

I personally need an open environment. My perfect environment is an office space dedicated to writing, large windows with flourishing plants and wildlife right on the other side. However, I live in a tiny apartment in town. I've got a big window but it looks out into the parking lot. I've tried multiple times to create some dedicated office space in my little apartment for writing but I never go there. Turns out I write best in the living room here, where life is happening and people are going about their day around me. I need it to be loud and busy around me. If I'm home alone, I put on music or nature sounds to simulate that feeling of life and adventure around me.

If I'm feeling stumped and need to stimulate creativity, I often turn to music. I'll peruse my playlists until I find the perfect song for the scene. Sometimes the characters are singing the song as if my story is suddenly a musical or maybe the song is just playing in the background as the scene plays out in my mind. Music offers different tones and twists the story I might not have considered before. It gets me out of the "plan" and back into the joy of creativity.

Jun 9, 1:15PM EDT0
What have been some of your findings while researching the spiritual side of health?
Jun 9, 9:52AM EDT0

The biggest thing I've  found is the limitless potential of spiritual healing. I'd been told by various doctors that my allergies were forever but after six months of spiritual healing, my allergies were gone for good. It's been 5 years and they have not returned. Spiritual healing helps the core problem rather than masking the symptoms which leads to permanent cures.

I've also found that whatever the physical ailment is, the core of the problem is emotional 99% of the time. It doesn't have to be your emotional blocks either. We carry the unsolved issues of our parents and ancestors in what's called inherited emotions. These can pile on and create health problems if not dealt with properly. In today's age, not dealing with mental health properly is an unfortunate majority and this often leads to the high physical ailments not much later. Spiritual healing is a great source for healing if one's already sick but it's an even better preventative "medicine": which can keep those health problems from popping up in the first place.

Jun 9, 12:28PM EDT0
Where is your book A Penny Lost available to buy and in what formats can it be purchased?
Jun 9, 12:25AM EDT0

Great question! A Penny Lost is available to purchase on Amazon. It's available through Kindle, paperback, and hardback.

Jun 9, 2:46AM EDT0
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