Angela’s Book Journeys episode last week had as its guest, Daniel Rechtschaffen, author of the book, The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students. Daniel is a marriage and family therapist who became a mindfulness practitioner while he was working as a school therapist in a middle school. He encountered kids with ADHD, anger management problems, and other such issues, and thought of applying mindfulness practices to the kids. He found that it worked well as the kids used the tools and really empowered them. Daniel has been working in classrooms teaching mindfulness for over 10 years now, helping different schools and school districts on how to incorporate these practices. His book is about how to integrate mindfulness and social-emotional learning into schools and includes an entire curriculum of a lot of different tools and lessons that can be brought into the classroom.
Daniel describes that his book journey was already happening years before he actually consolidated his writing, and this was while he was teaching in the classrooms. He would always bring a notebook with him and jot down interesting anecdotes or a new lesson or concept that would come out from his class. Because of this, he came up with piles and piles of lessons, stories and ideas that he would later go through to be able to turn it into something that would read well. The actual writing for Daniel was pretty quick as he described how he was so excited and energized, even obsessive about it in a good way, that his wife had to sometimes pull him away from his writing rather than him needing to be motivated to write. For him it was like rolling downhill as the ideas just came flowing through him. What proved helpful for him was creating a space in his office where he could just sit and meditate, allowing words and concepts to come and then writing them by hand on paper. Then when he had come up with a bunch of ideas, he would start putting it all together and edit it. For him the second part was the harder thing to do but obviously necessary in the writing process.
Daniel’s advice to would-be authors is to just allow time for their ideas to gestate and just let it be there with them. For him it meant seven years of just holding it in and not even really talking to many people about it, but just writing and playing with it and just having a relationship with the book. He says he had a very deep relationship with his book that he never even had to push it. In his words, “The first piece is to just have this very deep kind of long-term relationship with the art that you’re creating.”
Watch out for Angela’s interview with another exciting author.