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How To Hack Your Writing Brain

You’re reading How To Hack Your Writing Brain, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Writing has always been the art that most intimately reaches out to people and asks them to create. Let’s be honest; we are more than aware when we can’t paint or draw or shade. We have relatively good indications of our futility in a great many arts because commonly, we can’t envision ourselves creating that art. If you can’t dance, you don’t think about your ability dance all day. Additionally, many arts matter less in our daily lives due to a defined lack of practical application. Sure, you might need to help a sketch artist draw a bank robber’s headshot, but even then, you aren’t doing the drawing. There are rarely times where painting a picture of the snow falling in your front yard would be more practical than simply using your smartphone to take a picture and sending it, with love, to your friend in Florida. Your boss might say “write up a proposal and cover letter by the end of the day” but isn’t likely to say, “Please paint a picture showing how are meeting looked this afternoon.” Writing is different because while it is an art (think Hemmingway), it is also a basic need (think writing a check or passing elementary school courses). And it can also be vindication (think about that time you went through that breakup and really wanted to put it all into words). The Internet is now in content overdrive. The competition for page views and sales is mostly funneled either via the written word, or video. Because video requires more laborious technological endeavors and skills, a greater challenge exists to accomplish it, leaving writing, once again, as the web’s driving art. Writing has value in common daily application (think web marketing, your Facebook status, that cover letter) and art application (think that novella about growing up a small town girl in Kentucky, eventually ending up a pilates instructor in NYC, only to suffer the consequences of a fast-life suffering heart). Because of this, I hear the phrase, “I wish I could write like you do” all the time. The written word is powerful and versatile, and for some, it seems unaccomplishable. Well, being a seasoned writer who has been published in USA Today, among other outlets, I can assure you, writing is something you can do. The problem is, you just don’t know how to hack your writer’s brain. And when I tell you how to mine your brain for writing ability, you may just not want it anymore. That’s because some would view hacking the writer’s brain as something that sits somewhere between an inconvenience and absolute annoyance. But wait, I’m a writer, so how would I know if these tips work? Because writers just like me get writer’s block and I’ve learned that writer’s block is mostly just not following the below tips. You decide. Here’s my list of ways to hack the writer’s brain.

1) Honesty Fuels Creativity

Writing, of course, by most every standard, needs a creative infusion. Words don’t just magically appear. But often, people think of “creative writing” as only writing for specific circumstances, such as a novel or a poem. But writing on all fronts typically requires creativity. And creativity is spawned from one’s ability to be insightful. And the only way by which you can be insightful is, to be honest with yourself. If you want to create characters, the best place to start is by understanding your own self. If you need to write something that manipulates another party’s position (think writing a letter to a landlord), then you need to be in tune with how a real human thinks, not how you want them to think. A strategic writer need not be a seasoned writer, rather, someone who understands the emotions of other people. You can’t create a character built on human emotions when your own interpretation of human emotions are built on lies. Wait, what? Yes, get over it, we all lie to ourselves about how think, how we feel, how we react to things. We are revisionist when it comes to considerations made about our day’s events. Really good writers step out of their own body and judge themselves without bias. And they expose themselves to the elements. If you want to learn to write powerfully, start by writing about the real you. You have an inside track to human character (yours), to human emotion (your happiness and sadness and frustrations), and to human error. By writing about yourself in candor, without the constraints of ego, you begin to understand how other’s feel and interpret. This changes how you write a letter to your boss asking for a raise. This changes how you develop a character in your novel. And what’s great about this? It is what writing classes have said all along: keep a diary. I don’t tell anyone to write a daily journal, but I do encourage writing when you feel impassioned about something in your life. Nobody needs to see it; this is your training to hone a skill. When you went to the grocery store this afternoon, you might tell people you were savvy and got a great deal using a coupon (you are smart), and on the way out, you gave a dollar to a homeless person (you are giving). These are things, which while genuine and relevant, are often just us living in a shell and protecting our self-worth from being devalued by the world. We want people to think we are great. Great writers don’t think like this; they are commonly comfortable in their own self-deprecation. “I went to the store this afternoon. As I was checking out, I noticed that the checker wasn’t going to scan in my case of water bottles because they were under the cart. I knew if I could just hold tight, I’d save $8. But I folded, I felt scared of getting caught, so I alerted the checker. Does the fact that I wanted to not alert the checker put me on the fringe of moral depravity?” That’s loaded with real, human emotion. It is relatable and honest. It’s interesting. An entire character could be built from just that excerpt (I made that up, by the way). By writing honest things, you get access to the most interesting human being on earth: YOU.

2) White Noise Is Writer Brain Food

I can’t write anything while there is a TV or radio on, I tend to start following those scripts or beats. I can work on my laptop at a great non-writing related tasks and have a TV on, but I can’t write a well-thought out sentence if an episode of Friends is on in the background. Silence is golden, but there might be more gold in white noise. When I used to fly a lot, I began to realize that my creativity seemed to be elevated (pun intended). I loved the sounds of the engine as my background; I felt immersed inside my own little brain. Well as it turns out, that “noise” seems to be pretty healthy for writers. Check out this full article in Fast Company discussing ambient noise and productivity, they related it directly to writing. This hack is super easy. You can purchase apps, or, do what I do and hit up Youtube. Here is an Arctic Blizzard, definitely one of my favorites. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SVAgQh7Gg0 Thunderstorms out at sea (this is thinker’s gold). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsD5u6k6dKI There are also some cool alpha brain waves one (these don’t work for me, but reviews are insanely good). Here is one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEgSBuYlSoA&t=4654s Just search “white noise” in Youtube’s search bar and find what you like. I have some Bose Noise Reduction headphones that I pair up with these white noise videos, and it feels as if I am in a new world or a far, far away land. My productivity, my creativity, and my focus all feel elevated. This also allows you to work near a TV, radio or in a busy cafe without being subjected to hearing unwanted noises.

3) Reading Can Break Writer’s Block

If you deploy the above tips and still find you are trapped in writer’s block anyway, pick up something creative and read it. Or, if you are attempting to write something more formal, find some formal pieces of writing and read those. The new, focused stimuli will help shift your brain’s mode to that gear. When I offer this advice to people, they often respond with “I never thought of that.” To be honest, I forget it as well. Its very basic, but very powerful.

4) What You Eat Fuels The Brain (Boost it with MCT oil or Coconut Oil)

We are going to get started where it hurts: your diet. I want to make sure I’m clear here; I’m giving you an essential writer’s brain hack tip, I’m not advising you on health. You can see your doctor if you want to lose weight or develop amazing biceps, I’m here to make you a pound for pound writing champ. When I was growing up, one of my writing teachers used to tell me that if I wanted to achieve a more creative writing state, I should eat candy. He kept candy on his desk. This might be true, but the problem with it is you will have little endurance. Your writing tank will run out. Refined carbs aren’t great for endurance. Often, we think of diet and exercise as related (because they are). If someone is going to play basketball or run a marathon, they think, “what should I eat that offers me endurance?” The same should be true for writing. Writers need to be able to focus and concentrate for extended periods of time. Stay with lower carbs or complex carbs. This means proteins such as meats, or carbs such as raw (or unsweetened nuts). Your brain will run more efficiently in this mode and eliminate that “crashing” feeling that refined carbs induce. You need your brain to have stabilized energy. The brain, is in fact, a much sharper machine when it runs lower carb. Here’s a great article from Authority Nutrition  explaining how the presence of ketones in the brain is healthier for the brain (ketones are the result of super low carb diets that go on for extended periods of time). So the hack? Get the ketones going and sharpen up that brain for the long haul. You can do this by ordering some MCT oil, or some coconut oil. For added effect, put either in your coffee. Don’t bust out sugary carbs until you are done writing. This focus is so intense that I often find myself 4,000 words deep and not even realizing what time it is, or how much time has passed. Writers, just like athletes, need endurance. And the writer’s main muscle is focus. Often, writer’s block is merely the result of a brain that can’t focus.

5) Hack Your Perception

I’m going to say this as candidly as possible: every person and every situation are interesting. If you think you are boring, it is the fault of your own perception skills, rather than the fault of who you are. If you think the store is boring and without any substance, that’s your perception missing life. Life is interesting, always, unless you make it not so. I always tell people to go to a store and stop and look around and think, “what could I write that would make this experience more interesting.” This will help tune your perspective on matters to be a bit more intuitive. Most books ever written are about things, people and situations which are boring, the writer chose to not be bored. Wherever you are, if you see a dull horizon, that’s always on you. Making a habit out of seeing the interesting factors in everyday situations and in yourself will help to hack your writing brain. It grants you greater self-awareness and refined intuition. Practice having increased intuition and watch the words flow for anything you choose to write about. Conclusion: In the end, everyone is a writer. Sure, some of us are born with a little more prowess than others, but everyone can get better at it with practice and creating the right conditions.


Cory is a seasoned writer who currently writes for a prepping website called PrepForThat.com. Photo credit: Daniel McCullough

You’ve read How To Hack Your Writing Brain, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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About Darren Webb

Hello & Welcome to my blog. My name is Darren Webb and i'm on a magical successful journey and also helping others have a more stress free relaxed life. I truly hope that you find a lot of useful information on my blog and that it helps you through your life. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

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How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Make an Impact

You're reading How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Make an Impact, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

In 1726, at the ripe age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a habit-tracking system to help him live a more successful life. On each day of the week, he would give himself a crossmark for the virtues he failed to practice.

“I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day.” — Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin’s 13 Virtues: Temperance. Silence. Order. Resolution. Frugality. Industry. Sincerity. Justice. Moderation. Cleanliness. Tranquility. Chastity. Humility.

Build Your Internal Compass

This checkmark system alone wasn’t enough for Benjamin.

Each morning, he would ask himself “What good shall I do this day?” before he wrote a short journal as he jotted down his ideas. Each evening, he would reflect on his day with this single question: “What good have I done today?”

“The quality of your life comes down to the quality of the questions you ask yourself on a daily basis.” — Tony Robbins.

His check-mark system, alongside his morning and evening questions - served to steer his life in a far more focused direction. It made him continually think about ideas he could implement each day to practice goodness, both for his benefit and the benefit of those around him.

His three daily habits, gave him an internal compass from which to measure his life’s success. His systems not only affected his daily actions but they also positively influenced his thought patterns each day.

“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state…Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.” ― James AllenAs a Man Thinketh

All the plaudits he received in his lifetime were secondary.

In the end, his success wasn’t determined by others.

It was determined by his own standards.

His Circumstances Didn’t Determine His Success

Benjamin Franklin only had two years of education during his youth. He was the 15th child of seventeen children from a poor family background. He ran away from his family at the age of 17 after being violently beaten for writing under a pseudo-name in his brother’s newspaper.

Yet he found a way to move away from any sort of mental victim mentality.

Life’s storms, in his case, created more resilient roots.

Benjamin Franklin didn’t measure his success or failure through extrinsic rewards or his past experiences— he forged a deep internal locus of control which he then extrapolated into his three daily habits.

Are you operating based on external standards, or internal standards dictated by yourself?

In my life, just like everyone else, I’ve had my fair share of storms. From growing up with a violent stepfather, to being homeless, and being forced to move country at the age of eight.

But pain is never an excuse for mediocrity.

It wasn’t an excuse for Benjamin, and it shouldn’t be for you.

“People with an internal locus of control believe that they are responsible for (or at least can influence) their own fates and life outcomes. They may or may not feel they are leaders, but they feel that they are essentially in charge of their lives.” — Daniel J Letivin.

Did Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Habit System Help Him Live a Meaningful Life?

In his autobiography, Franklin wrote that through his daily habits, he never “arrived at the perfection he had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it.”

Yet, he admits his attempts made him a happier and far more productive man than he would otherwise have been. While he may have not reached a state of perfection, he did indeed live a life of true excellence.

The truth is, our lives will never be “perfect”. But the more relentlessly we move towards that “perfection” in our habits and character, the more our lives will reflect everything we’re yearning for.

“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves.” — James Allen

Just Some of Benjamin Franklin’s Accomplishments Include:

  1. Inventing bifocal lenses that allow people with presbyopia to see in the distance through the upper half of the lens, and read through the lower half.
  2. Creating lightning rods which protects millions of buildings from the hazardous effects of lightning strikes.
  3. Founding the University of Pennsylvania and the American Philosophical Society, which have both positively influenced thousands of students lives and shaped America’s cultural landscape.
  4. Publishing Richard’s Almanac, which contained the calendar, poems, sayings and astronomical and astrological information which pioneered the way information was presented in many books thereafter.

None of those accomplishments would have been possible had he not focused on living each day that was offered to him, with the utmost focus.

And one of his secret weapons was his daily habits.

“The Secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” — Mike Murdock

Look Inside Yourself for Your Sense of Self-Worth

The moment we begin to look outside ourselves for our measures of success, the more we run the likelihood of feeling like failures. And it’s also the moment we limit our potential success.

We’re all living within the confines of our own orchestrated reality. The moment you think someone is better or inferior then you, you limit your thinking — according to research in Nany Kline’s book Time to Think. And when you judge someone’s accomplishments in relation to yours, you perpetuate an illusion that masks your real self-worth.

Unless you’ve built your own internal measures of success, then you will always run the risk of comparing yourself to others. And that’s dangerous — you can end up risking your sense of self-esteem and unique individuality for some external standard “you’re supposed to meet”.

  • You’re not supposed to meet anyone’s standard.
  • You’re only supposed to be inspired by other people’s example.
  • It’s up to you to create your own standards.

“Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant

Build a System of Accountability for Your Daily Habits

Between 1707 and 1770, Benjamin Franklin lived a life of purpose, character, and excellence. While you can take great lessons from his daily habits, the reality is that your systems need to take into account your uniqueness and the times we live in.

A digital approach to tracking your habits, on a phone app or on your computer can be just as effective. You can build upon Benjamin’s ideas and refine them to suit.

If you want to cultivate the practice of tracking your daily habits, then you don’t have to necessarily track thirteen qualities and ask yourself a question every morning and night.

Experiment, and discover what works for you.

In the end, the most effective system, is the one that you can stick to.

My Daily Habits System

Differently to Benjamin Franklin, I track the actions that lend themselves to the state and emotion I want to experience each day.

In Eric Barker’s book ‘Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong” the author cites that the more we can “gamify” our lives, the likelier we’ll stick to our disciplines.

At the end of each week, I have a call with a friend (who also tracks her habits) to share how it all went — just to make this practice of discipline a little more playful.

Potential Areas to Track in Your Life

  • Your Finances
  • Your Health (How many workouts are you doing per week and month)
  • Your Knowledge (Which books are you reading, which conferences are you going to?)
  • Your Highlights of the Month (Gratitude)

By measuring your progress in the important areas of your life, you will always be proactively comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, and to no one else.

Life isn’t designed to give us what we need, it’s designed to give us what we earn. And we can more easily earn what we want, when we stop comparing ourselves to others, as we focus on maximizing our daily habits to their full potential.

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If you want to live a life that’s 10x as meaningful in this digital age get my FREE 18-paged book on creating your best week.

Click here to get the book!

You've read How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Make an Impact, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Staying Focused At Work: How To Be Productive In A Challenging Environment

A lot of organizations deal with challenges like maintaining productivity and quality of work. Employees constantly complain about the increasing chaos that hampers their productivity and this directly affects the business. Because of that, managers are quite pressed to find a solution that can motivate their team members while boosting their productivity. In this article, […]

The post Staying Focused At Work: How To Be Productive In A Challenging Environment appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Embracing the Unacceptable

You're reading Embracing the Unacceptable, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

We all go through something in life we never wanted, desired, or thought even possible. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, well, consider yourself lucky and forewarned; something will happen one day, and you might want to have read these tips. Whether it’s coping with not having internet or cell phone reception for a week, (something unthinkable to so many this day and age), embracing a new life direction due to drastic job change, family dynamic, or even something like me, with a life threatening mystery illness, there is one common denominator: you have to get through it. And you can and will get through it; the how you get through it, is entirely up to you.

Here are my 5 lessons from going through my own intense health battles for the past decade and a half, resulting from a mystery illness and a sense of humor that simply refuses to give up in the midst of it all.

5 Steps For Embracing Something You Never Wanted

• 1. Side step the fact that you never wanted it. Don’t try to accept it or cope with it; just step around it. Often what makes something so unacceptable is the shocking contrast to the current, acceptable circumstances we are in. The acceptable life compared to the unacceptable life can seem too big a leap to grasp, reconcile, cope with. So, don’t try at first. Allow yourself to be in shock by simply going around the news. This way you have a little time to let the new reality sink into your mentality before actually dealing with it.

• 2. Find something outrageously positive about it—even if the reasoning might be slightly skewed. It’s a scientific law of nature that there is an equal and opposite element to every being. So, after the unacceptable has been able to seep into your consciousness, try to find some light to shed on it so it becomes as positive as can be. Perhaps you could compare it to something that would be way worse.

For example: my illness has left my body with terrible veins, a real difficulty as blood work is a necessity for my survival. One time, when I was having a particularly sick bout, I had a doctor take 3 hours of continuously poking me trying to find a vein that could hold an IV line to give me antibiotics necessary to save my life. In a particularly long “fishing” expedition of his needle deep in my arm, my positive thinking of was how much I would rather be in this scenario than at a banquet of a picnic that was covered in ants. That would really suck.

• 3. Become a salesman— pitch the positive perspective to your friends, family, and self. Time is passing, the acid taste in your mouth piles up every time you think of the unacceptable you are trying to avoid. Yet, it has slowly been turning into a part of your consciousness, and your outrageous comparable are slowing making the unacceptable seem an actual existence. You are bravely trying to put your chin up and somehow go forward. Not yet coping with it or even embracing it, more co-existing with it.

Now you need to sell it to everyone. Those who are closest to you will see the act of your sharing all the positives for what it is—an act (or at least we like to believe they do). If you can convince everyone, slowly, you might even start convincing yourself that this will somehow be survivable, maybe even okay. Perhaps you can even find pleasure in the act of trying to convince yourself of the positive. Sometimes the more ludicrous, the more amusing it can be—try it!

• 4. The Time of Acceptance Has Arrived. No, you never wanted it; yes, the positive reasons are outrageous. Life the beautiful way you imagined, knew, is no longer an option—maybe only for a time, maybe forever; who really knows? But you’re here; you can choose to be miserable, or choose to embrace this change and experience it to the fullest. *Remember, choosing to embrace the journey to the fullest doesn’t mean that you need to be positive, doesn’t mean that it will be all sunshine and daisies; it simply means that you will be fully alive, fully aware, and fully present. It’s your choice.

• 5.  It’s Your Choice; Your Power; Your Decision. You always have a choice. Even if you hate the circumstances, didn’t choose them, didn’t deserve it, whatever; it’s your choice in how you get through it. With bitterness, delight, tears, or laughter, or a combination in between—it’s your choice. You are not a victim, your life is not a result whim of Life’s folly; you do have a say in how you act, how you express, how you live this moment. There in lies the power within you.


Cecilia Baldwin, Living As A Mystery Girl. After becoming a quadriplegic due to an unknown illness at just 15, Cecilia has spent the next 15 years fighting to recover what best her body could, search for answers, endure through misdiagnoses, cancer, and maintain her quirky sense of humor. With an amazing support system, super-hero Mom who is also her primary care giver, and faithful service dog at her side, she strives to not only survive but to thrive. You can follow her on her blog at : www.livingasamystery.com or on Twitter at @livingamystery

You've read Embracing the Unacceptable, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

How To Prepare A Wall For Tiling

Tiling is a job I’ve always really enjoyed. It’s satisfying seeing the wall gradually disappear beneath the flow of tiles. Once you get into a groove, this activity almost becomes therapeutic. However, before you can get into the groove, you’ve got to make sure that your surface is prepped and ready. Otherwise, you might find […]

The post How To Prepare A Wall For Tiling appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Infographic: Rising Levels of Anxiety in a Digital World

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