Equipping Writers for Success
The Writing Life
The Writing Life
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by R.H. Ramsey
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Were you the artistic child, praised for your creativity, but often punished and told that you were not applying yourself? Did you grow up to be the adult who cannot go straight to sleep, because of racing thoughts, ideas, striking you as your head hits the pillow?
I can relate. For years, I beat myself up about the fact that I have been cursed with the attention span of a flea. But in my early twenties, I realized something. My wandering mind, inability to focus, and inopportune moments of inspiration, with fine-tuning, became a blessing -- not a curse. Now, I am determined to make a career from being creative.
How did this epiphany happen? I listened to myself.
1. Make a habit of writing those thoughts down, no matter how big or small.
"When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools." -- Michael Leboeuf
You may be surprised to see what your subconscious was trying to tell you.
Oftentimes, the things we experience are not fully processed right away. I believe, this is why inspiration may strike at any given moment. Your inspiration -- your muse -- may have been something you were too busy to analyze. It could be as simple as a person who could benefit from an invention, an inspirational story, an abstract photo or painting, and like clockwork (hours later just as you find your comfy spot in bed) you are nearly paralyzed with a flood of new exciting ideas.
Write them down. Your subconscious is trying to remind, show and tell you something.
2. Accept your ideas and understand how powerful the mind truly is.
"Apparently, people tend to be governed by a deep-seated desire to maintain a sense of certainty. New ideas can trigger discomfort, since they introduce unfamiliar possibilities. The study authors cited research demonstrating that people have 'a strong motivation to diminish and avoid' feelings of uncertainty. As a result, many will reject ideas that threaten feelings of certainty, regardless of whether or not those ideas have merit." --icr.org
It seems, at times, we are so caught up in the logic of what can and cannot be done now, that we forget about the possibility of next week, month or year. It's all about timing, and if you can keep track of your ideas, you will relish in the ease of starting new projects.
3. When you can, close your eyes, and let your ideas have a bit of your time.
How does it make you feel, when you have something important to say, and mid-sentence, someone cuts you off, just to tell you that you're ridiculous?
Then why would you do this to yourself? Instead of making your time all about silencing thoughts and negative self-talk, listen to yourself without interrupting.
Simple as that.
(I know, I know, it's not so simple, especially when it is 3 am, and your alarm clock has no sympathy.)
4. Connect and visualize.
"Brain studies now reveal that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions. Mental imagery impacts many cognitive processes in the brain: motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory. So the brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization. It's been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow -- all relevant to achieving your best life!" --psychologytoday.com
Sort through and create a timeline; find what can be done now, and what should be done in the future. Take the time to visualize your project completed and successful. In order to connect with this visual, you must believe in the goal. Focus on success, inspiring and helping others. This is your project; you came up with it! Remind yourself that there is no one better for the job than you.
5. Don't be afraid of input.
The constructive feedback is exactly what you need in order to move forward. The not-so-good advice or mean-spirited advice will teach you to compartmentalize. You will learn how to distinguish between objective, subjective, useful, and not useful.
The worst thing you can do to yourself is stifle yourself and your ideas, out of fear. I have tried that method -- the result? Epic fail.
6. This may seem hypocritical or opposite the aforementioned bullets, but it is vital: Disconnect and distract.
"Researchers described the features of four different cars to 27 adults. Then they separated the study participants into three groups: One group evaluated the cars right away, the second group rated the cars after thinking about the pros and cons, and the third group rated the cars after performing a distracting math-memory task. In the end, the distracted group chose the most wisely." --nbcnews.com
I really enjoyed this article. It suggested that distractions are a healthy way to deal with decision-making. When I need to clear my head, and I lie listening to music, perfectly still, thinking of everything and absolutely nothing at once, I am creating the perfect distraction.
The rushing thoughts of the creative soul are nothing to wish away. With a bit of direction, and a consistent effort to channel these thoughts, your constant flow of ideas will become your gift -- not your curse.
All the best to you, my fellow creative!
This article originally appeared on the "SheOwnsIt" blog at http://sheownsit.com/ways-make-your-racing-thoughts-work-for-by-rhramseydreamer/
This article is not available for reprint without the author's written permission.
R.H. Ramsey is a military wife, mother of two and a student. She has completed several novels, with four novels near completion and five short stories. She has three self-published books: Just Beneath the Surface, I, Undone and Into the Atmosphere. Just Beneath the Surface 2: Landon's Story will be available at the end of 2014. Her books have recently been acquired by an indie publisher. With a passion for people, helping and learning, she hopes to continue in her quest of learning from and inspiring others.