The thought of being trapped in a writer’s brain would terrify most but a writer shouldn’t be afraid of their own brain. What we must understand is that the brain stores dangerous and threatening moments differently. We tend to remember incidental details when it is a threatening scenario. These ‘fears’ are then stored in the limbic system to warn us of impending danger in the future. Great, right? Not always.
Are you scared yet? Have you stored me and my antics in your limbic system? No- good…kinda. Are you ready to move forward in learning with our lovely book, Around the Writer’s Block by Rosanne Bane? Cool. Go grab your copy, a fresh cuppa (coffee), a handful of nibbles, and turn to page 62.
Limbic system? Who would have thought we would be studying science to figure out why we can’t write? Weird, right? What we have to understand is that the scary stuff we pack our limbic system with as a warning device can trigger on things that shouldn’t be scary. Like sitting down to write. Somewhere along the way in your journey through words, you got spooked. Maybe you had a cringe worthy critique from someone you respect and that got in your head, literally. This moment can store itself as a danger and cause you to fear the very idea of writing.
We can change this. We can reteach our brains to not fear the thing we love to do. They say, “Get back up in the saddle,” if you are thrown from a horse. This isn’t too far off the mark. Get back behind your desk. Showing up matters. Showing up regularly builds trust, in yourself. Challenge yourself to 15 minutes a day, 5 days per week of Product Time. Product Time isn’t just physically writing. This time can include research, plotting, thinking, and storyboarding…anything. It is a promise to your brain that you are there and trying. Just 15 minutes of active Product Time will open your imagination. Don’t forget, Process is still part of this. You need to do both which is a 30-minute requirement on your part, 15 for each.
Showing up isn’t half the battle; it IS the battle. – Rosanne Bane
The analogy used in this next section is perfect- while raising mutinous teenagers, people would often expound that teens may balk at structure and discipline, but deep down inside, WAY DOWN DEEP, they yearned for it. She goes on to explain how words can be the same as testy teens. They may play hooky, sulk, be snippy, hang out with the wrong prepositional phrases(LOL), but deep down they long for Product Time. This section cracked me up but made absolute sense.
For some of us werd nerds, Product Time can be pretty daunting. When you see the word product you assume something tangible must come out of it, but that is not the case. What Product Time truly means is that YOU are willing to show up…and try. You earn your brain’s trust and willingness to work every day by showing up even if you think you have nothing to write.
Many of us are guilty of basing our effectiveness and work on the word count we produce each time we sit at our desk. The problem with this thought pattern is we don’t consider all the prep time it took to get there. Product Time has six elements that few of us consider. Actual writing is only one of those. You have to consider all the research you have done, the thought process that goes into your plot, the discussions you have with others about your ideas and verifying your plans.
I will cover 2 stages per post over the next few days. The six stages are: first insight, saturation, incubation, illumination, verification, and hibernation.
**Look forward to first insight and saturation as the topic for my next post. **
Polish your sparkle and just keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
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