January 6, 2020

There is only one January 6, 2020. This is it! Go for it!

Time continues to travel on. And so do we. The new question is up. Give me your thoughts. The featured excerpt is up as well. We’ll begin the year with a taste of Nikki Khan’s writing in her piece, Life Is Blessing – a short Story. She’ll give you much to think about.

Now, let’s move on. Ever have a problem getting your writing into gear? If not, you’re a rare breed. Most of us have, but did you know that neuroscience can aid you in your quest for words? Here are some things that might help.

Learn to make writing fun. Visualize the future.

Often, we think of writing as something we should do. Unfortunately, should can lead to negative feelings. Most likely, should will cause you to feel less like writing. By applying neuroscience we can retrain the brain to look forward to our time at the keyboard.

How does this work? Quickly make a list of as many positive things as you can that will take place when you’re done writing. Maybe consider these:

  • How will you feel when you see your book published or hold it your hands?
  • What opportunities might it open up for you?
  • Will you win prizes? Get a contract? Think BIG!

I’m told that envisioning future success releases dopamine into the brain that gives us a sense of happiness, thus we are more motivated.

Create a trigger to form new writing habits.

To develop good writing habits, we can use triggers to our advantage. Think about the things you do without thinking. Here are some examples and how to implement them.

  • When I get home from the school run, then I’ll do 30 minutes of writing.
  • When I have my first coffee of the day, then I’ll write 500 words of my article.
  • When I get home from work, then I’ll spend 45 mins on my book.

The neuroscience behind this – when you fuse together an action, you do regularly with an action that you want to do more of, you strengthen the neural pathways in your brain.

Break your writing into small steps

Have you ever failed at a new habit? Maybe a new fitness routine at the gym? Maybe a new study habit?

Why did you fail? You may be surprised to learn that fear can be at the center of failing. The new habit may be too ambitious or even too complicated. Such feelings can trigger the amygdala – the fear portion of the brain. The result likely could be putting off or delaying the exercise. You might even be overwhlemed by it. So what can you do?

Start small:

  • Show up at your desk once a day at a set time and even if you don’t do any writing – reserve that time solely for writing and nothing else.
  • Write for 10-15 minutes each day and slowly increase the time the over the course of two weeks.
  • Produce a piece of freewriting every day (an unblocking technique where you splurge your thoughts without judging or editing).
  • Write in a journal every morning or evening.
  • Get a timer and find somewhere you can’t be interrupted, set it for 25 minutes. Write. Then, take a five-minute break. Set the timer for another 25 minutes.

Reward yourself

So you’ve turned off the fear factor. Now, turn on the pleasure center of your brain. Reward yurself for a job well done. Small rewards will trigger the pleasure center of your brain, and by doing so, will strengthen the writing habit even more.

Ask yourself, what small reward could you give yourself after your next writing session?

Don’t make your reward too big or too tiny, make it something small that you would look forward to receiving (or eating!) after a writing session.

Be sure to reward the effort you put in, not the quantity. There is a big difference.

Well, there you have it. Go into 2020 flying, but don’t burn out. Pace yourself. Set reasonable goals, and keep plugging away. 2020 looks to be promising year. Have a happy one.

WFK

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