Author Topic: My simple brain hack to get started writing  (Read 732 times)  

Offline TonyD

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My simple brain hack to get started writing
« on: January 12, 2018, 05:22:51 PM »
How many of you start your writing day like this? (Not counting those who work 9-5 that day)

Wake up, check the forums, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

After an hour or more of this, you finally shower, eat, then check your social media entertainment loop again.

Think about writing, or editing, then don't.

Go out for a $4 coffee, read for an hour, check social media.

Finally by about 4 pm, you open your laptop, slap out an exhilarating sentence and then go for a smoke.

Yeah, me too. Until I discovered the power of meditation.

Instead, try this.

Wake up, count to three and jump out of bed. (No smart phones, pads or laptops in your bed.)

Shower first. Then, after you dry, sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes, and count ten stairs. Go down those stairs as many times as it takes to get relaxed.

Imagine yourself writing. If you go out to write, imagine yourself getting dressed, packing your laptop, and going to the cafe, or office, and writing.

Imagine yourself opening the word processor, and the genius spilling out, for hours. See yourself with your finished manuscript. See yourself accepting a Pulitzer, feel it. What does it feel like to be such a prolific, amazing writer? What does it feel like to finish your day having written so many fine words?

If you haven't already, read the book "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. He talks about a concept called "Resistance." Resistance is that mysterious, egoic force that compels us to do nothing. To merely exist, in comfort. It talks you out of doing what would make you happy.

By meditating on the act of doing your task, your purpose, and feeling the reward, emotionally, you essentially bypass the resistance first. Then it's easy to get to work.

I do this every day, and it works great. The only days I falter, are when I don't meditate for five, ten, or thirty minutes.

Good luck.

T.D. Newton | My Blog

Offline jason2505

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Re: My simple brain hack to get started writing
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 11:13:36 PM »
That is awesome advice - I will test that out for sure!

One more hack that works for me: Set a 42 (or 35, or 45, or whatever you like) minute timer. After the timer starts you get started. No matter what. Don't think about anything else, just start. After the 42 minutes the timer rings, and you can take 18 mins off (meaning refresh time). After the rest period, you start the 42 minutes again.

If you do this 3-4 times a day, you have a total of 3-4 extremly productive work hours. In this time I often accomplish more than I would in a whole day just lingering.

Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: My simple brain hack to get started writing
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 12:28:27 AM »
That is awesome advice - I will test that out for sure!

One more hack that works for me: Set a 42 (or 35, or 45, or whatever you like) minute timer. After the timer starts you get started. No matter what. Don't think about anything else, just start. After the 42 minutes the timer rings, and you can take 18 mins off (meaning refresh time). After the rest period, you start the 42 minutes again.

If you do this 3-4 times a day, you have a total of 3-4 extremly productive work hours. In this time I often accomplish more than I would in a whole day just lingering.

I do this, sort of--rather than 42 minutes (although I like the number!) I use a simple 1 hour. But it goes like this--go to brain.fm start cinematic concentration music for 1 hour. WRITE! Take 20 minutes downtime to read, walk around, learn how to pick locks on youtube. Then go back to brain.fm, set timer for 1 hour. WRITE! Do this a few times each day and you can crank out a lot of material.

I'm going to try the morning meditation as well--thanks TonyD!

Guy Riessen | website

Offline ameliasmith

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Re: My simple brain hack to get started writing
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 04:08:02 AM »
It takes me a while to get my brain to wake up, so I don't start first thing, but on days when I'm really having a hard time getting started I have a super-simple hack. I tell myself and anyone else who happens to be in the house:

Hey, I'm going to go pretend to write now.

Pretending involves sitting in front of the computer with nothing but the word processor on. But I'm not really writing, so I don't need to get stressed out about it!

Offline MyraScott

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Re: My simple brain hack to get started writing
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 05:27:19 AM »
I like this a lot.  A key is to just not get started looking at social media and mail... that can eat up so much time.

Online Jena H

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Re: My simple brain hack to get started writing
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 05:33:28 AM »
Helpful ideas.  I've always thought that at its most basic, writing is a matter of simply "butt in chair, hands on keyboard."  Everything else is just a distraction and/or an excuse, no matter how we justify it.  A number of years ago I spent weeks trying to come up with a secondary plot, a B-story for my book.  Finally I realized I was procrastinating and wasting time, so I simply sat down and started writing the book.  Everything else somehow fell into place.

The time limit (42 minutes, one hour, etc.) is a good idea, and a way to combat the daunting "ohmygod, I have to do this huge thing!" psychological barrier we face.  A short segment of time is a lot easier to face than an entire day and a blank page.  Interesting how the same concept applies to working out...  shorter bursts of activity followed by a break is more effective than trying to slog through one long workout.


(On an unrelated note, I have to say that I hate the word 'hack' as it's being used these days.  Articles about "life hacks" or "hack your workday," etc. make me roll my eyes.  99% of the time what we get are simple suggestions, or ideas.  Call them what they are:  helpful hints.  It was good enough for Heloise.   8) )
Jena

Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: My simple brain hack to get started writing
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 10:05:09 AM »
Oh, also, it's great if you have a fast-start laptop--especially if you just leave it hibernating. I often have ideas that show up at weird times--looking in the fridge, putting on socks, whatever. And if you're word processor is practically instant start, you can literally grab five minutes and write the seed for a scene, or take 30 and crank the whole thing out. If you have to wait a few minutes for a computer to start up, The Resistance will convince you not to do it.

Guy Riessen | website

Offline TonyD

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Re: My simple brain hack to get started writing
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 11:21:03 AM »
I do this, sort of--rather than 42 minutes (although I like the number!) I use a simple 1 hour. But it goes like this--go to brain.fm start cinematic concentration music for 1 hour. WRITE! Take 20 minutes downtime to read, walk around, learn how to pick locks on youtube. Then go back to brain.fm, set timer for 1 hour. WRITE! Do this a few times each day and you can crank out a lot of material.

I'm going to try the morning meditation as well--thanks TonyD!

I'm going to try this thanks.

T.D. Newton | My Blog

Offline kattomic

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Re: My simple brain hack to get started writing
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 11:25:58 AM »
What I do, after I check my email to make sure none of my overseas clients have a problem, is to close down my email program and close my web browser so no alerts come through to distract me. (I am incapable of not answering an email the second it comes in.) Meditation...I need to work on that.

Online Romancer

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Re: My simple brain hack to get started writing
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 11:28:40 PM »
This is brilliant.

I also recommend downloading the Freedom app. Life changer.