Science and Writing

Love Them Both!

By Annette Rey

You can break writer’s block by combining another subject you love with your primary desire to write work that flows. To this end, science facts will get me writing.

On 3/30/19 I posted Will Writer’s Digest Die?, an article informing that F&W Media, the publisher of Writer’s Digest, has announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy and unless another interest buys the magazine, writers of the world will lose a valuable resource.

What do these first two paragraphs have to do with one another? Read on.

I am excited to report that I have continued receiving issues of Writer’s Digest and September’s issue is on the rack at Barnes and Noble. That issue has an article in it that intrigues me and is linked to scientific studies, titled 10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Beat Writer’s Block. Naturally, I wanted to investigate these claims.

Number 1 of the article, Repetitive Action Relaxes, written by Estelle Erasmus speaks of engaging in mind wandering activities like folding laundry and doing dishes, to tap into your writing creativity. The link for Number 1 is:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689035/?tool=pubmed
This is impressive as it is from the National Institutes of Health, an extremely reliable source of information. I read this abstract (written by Kalina Christoff, Alan M. Gordon, Jonathan Smallwood, Rachelle Smith, and Jonathan W. Schooler) and pulled two quotes from it that support the claim of Ms. Erasmus. “…suggests that mind wandering may evoke a unique mental state that may allow otherwise opposing networks to work in cooperation.” And “…off-task thought and its relation to executive resources.” These remarks indicate that while the mind seems idle, it really is working and can activate executive functions. This would account for our Eureka! moments when an idea flashes into our brains and we use our conscious minds to pick up the laptop and begin tapping.

I especially like Number 6 of the article, Water Washes Your Blocks Away, with the link: https://open.buffer.com/shower-thoughts-science-of-creativity/. This web article by Leo Widrich quotes researchers and scientists who say the act of showering (and exercising, driving, etc.) produces dopamine in our brains which stimulates creative thought. I experience genius moments in the shower! Memories from childhood flash into my brain, names, dates, family interactions, new ideas, and I can interconnect all of them. Stories are born! This happens consistently and I have asked myself, out loud, what is causing this? Well, now I know. Dopamine flow. I intend to get very wet, very often!

So as a nudge to you to no longer put up with writer’s block, gather some scientific information and know that your brain can overcome any challenge. New information, like perhaps detailed here, can give birth to fresh ways of looking at things you have taken for granted. Combining your love of one subject to your love of writing is another way to inspire epic writing sessions.

Stop by your nearest book store and open up the September issue of Writer’s Digest and give this article an in-depth study. Check out the links.

Learn. Focus. Write.

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