Set Your Brain and Your Creativity Free

Being a writer is a tough gig, as previously noted. Hugely satisfying, and the only thing you can do if you are called to it, but it is a demanding task mistress and at all but the highest levels, the pay is low.

So you might as well have fun while you are doing it.  I’ve been pondering how, exactly, we creatives might have success setting the brain free. And below are some tips. Some of these may be familiar to you, but often it takes reading something several times before it really lodges in the mind. And some might be new to you.  Consider them all and think about how you can put them to use in your writing life.

Write hard and fast for the discovery draft. Throwing words at the page with abandon, when time passes, and you don’t even know it, and afterward you’re in love with the world—this is why, I believe, most writers start writing. It is wonderful experience. It gets harder to achieve this state when you are writing professionally, but….you need to. This is when the magic happens.

Don’t confuse writing with rewriting.  Don’t labor over every word as you write. Let the words rip. And also, don’t labor over the first chapters of the book, going back over it and over it. This is a sure way to get blocked. Write your discovery draft from start to finish and then you can begin revising. You’ll know much more about the book when you get to the end, trust me.

Write bad. If you are well and truly blocked, this is an exercise that will help set your brain free. Write one bad page. Force yourself to write the worst crap you can think of. Here’s the thing: you won’t. Because you are basically a good writer, so writing bad doesn’t come naturally. But once you allow yourself to write bad, that takes the pressure off.

How do you keep your brain and creativity free?

A (much) longer version of this was first published on Medium, which is a site that encourages longer reads.  You can read that version here. I’ve got other posts on writing up there, too!

 

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Derek
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Write bad… I love it! I am guilty of reading sentences as I type them to ensure they make sense. And it’s worse than that. I even start correcting typos.. Such a simple thing, that I have heard before, but my drive to get it good has been blocking my creativity! Thanks for the post

Derek
Guest

A hard habit to break, but I’m getting ‘better’ it’s more to do with typo-corrections than it making sense. I guess because I learned piano from a very young age I learned to never look down at my hands, but at the music and stop and go over a piece again if any ‘bum notes’ are struck. With typing I tend to look at the screen and immediately see typos and sometimes it happens a lot when thoughts are racing, my hands start racing I guess. I then start hitting the back-space to correct the word. Spell-checkers tend to make… Read more »

Derek
Guest

Yes, I think it is my musical training. I taught myself touch-typing a few years back with a book and found that my fingers found the correct keys to hit without looking, once I knew how to place them on the keyboards. I guess it is a good job really because many of the letters on my keyboard have worn away. The weird thing it that when I do look down, for a specific letter, I can’t remember which one it is.. It is like my eyes don’t know by my fingers do!