Here are some ideas to help you increase your ability to write and to brainstorm.
1) Learn your own biorhythms. The right side of your brain, the creative side, wakens and falls asleep on a cycle that is separate from your conscious mind. One signal that it is awake is that during the night, when it wakens, a person will often attain REM sleep. In other words, you’ll be having vivid dreams. It also tends to waken before your left-hemisphere, and then it will nap during mid-day.
In order to reach your creative potential, both hemispheres of your brain need to be active and working in conjunction. Thus, I find that I write my best in the morning. By two in the afternoon, I lose a great deal of creativity, and I find that I can often only edit later in the day.
2) Avoid dependence on alcohol or other drugs. I know some authors who like to have a little buzz going. They feel that after a few beers they are less inhibited and can lay down their daily words more easily. But often those same writers find themselves so drunk by noon that they can’t find the keyboard. Other drugs, such as LSD and mescaline, cause far more problems than they resolve. I know writers who have written well while on speed, but too often it interferes with a writer’s critical sensibilities. Once again, I wouldn’t risk it. There are some good studies that show that people who smoke too much weed lose their desire to excel. Once again, it’s a bad idea.
3) Learn what foods help you to be more creative. For example, I find that if I eat an egg for breakfast, I am able to concentrate more deeply (eggs are a brain food, rich in choline). Ginkgo biloba is also helpful, as are heavy doses of B-vitamins. Rather than taking anti-depressants, try eating almonds to raise your serotonin levels naturally. There are a number of herbal concoctions, such as Deep Thought, that combine both vitamins and herbs to help you reach a contemplative state.
4) I find that taking green tea instead of colas allows me to get a little energy boost while writing, without getting jittery.
5) When you’re writing, take breaks every two hours or so in order to give your eyes a rest and perhaps eat a small snack so that your blood sugar doesn’t drop too low. But when you take your breaks, keep a notepad handy, so that you can capture any stray thoughts that might occur to you about your writing.
6) Many people find that they are most creative after sustained, intense physical exercise. I like to run or work out on a daily basis, and I strongly recommend it not only for the creative boost but also to help keep at an optimum weight.
In short, you need to get to know your body. You may find that certain drugs or illnesses limit you, while others seem to help deepen your focus. You need to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses, and begin to see your mind as a tool–one that needs to be renewed and honed until it is razor sharp. I’ll leave it up to you to begin this voyage.
The Permian Basin Writers Workshop
Oct. 13th and 14th
The Permian Basin Writers Workshop, 2018 event, gives aspiring writers a better understanding of the craft of fiction and nonfiction, prepares them for the fast-changing world of publishing and promotion, and creates opportunities for meaningful networking and support.
Our intimate atmosphere and speaker/agent access will allow networking with a wealth of talent on both sides of the classroom.
I will be teaching at this workshop. Hope to see you there!