How Meditation Improves Memoir Writing - Nina Godiwalla

In Chapter 13 of 14 in her 2010 Capture Your Flag interview, author Nina Godiwalla answers "How has meditating helped you be more self-aware and introspective in your writing?" Godiwalla notes how meditation has helped her be more present in every moment, choose where to put her attention, and apply this process in her memoir writing.  Her book "Suits: a Woman on Wall Street" covers some buried and even dark experiences.  The meditation helps Godiwalla get depth in understanding what happened and putting it down on paper.  As a result, she is able to take the reader to a different level in the storytelling experience. Nina Godiwalla is the author of "Suits: A Woman on Wall Street" and the founder and CEO of Mindworks, a provider of leadership, stress management, and diversity training programs. Before starting her business and writing her book, Godiwalla worked in corporate development at Johnson & Johnson and Oxygen Media and investment banking at Morgan Stanley. Godiwalla earned an MBA from Wharton, a MA from Dartmouth and a BBA from the University of Texas.


Erik Michielsen: How has meditating helped you be more self aware and introspective in your writing?

Nina Godiwalla: For me meditation is a general term and it is for a lot of people as well, of being present in every moment so while we’re speaking actually really listening to what you’re saying and not having my mind think about ‘Oh wow, I’m really nervous, does this make sense? It’s a lifestyle in that I can choose where I’m putting my attention, meditation is choosing where you put your attention at every single moment of your life.

So in terms of being able to take that self awareness and understand and quietly be with myself and be comfortable, it’s completely affected my writing specifically the book I’ve written because it’s a memoir and it’s about my life. One of the things is I think we go through experiences and if they don’t work the way we want them to work we kind of can bury them someplace else. And to be honest some of the stuff I wrote about were definitely things that I buried, I didn’t want to go back, I didn’t want to think about them and meditation allows me -- gives me the safety and comfort with myself to go back and visit those experiences and not just visit them but try and understand why I put myself in that situation, why that happened and get that depth and in all honesty when you’re writing you want to take people to that different level, you don’t want to – it doesn’t need to just be ‘Hey this is what happened’ its kind of like, ‘I’m trying to understand what happened’ and when you’re meditating you’re actually getting comfortable enough with yourself to where you’re not denying things, you’re not -- you’re saying ‘I accept the way I acted, I accept what happened and let me take it to a different level’ and I think that way you’re able to take the reader to a different level.