Warm Up Your Brain Before Writing

The past few days I’ve been late in achieving my one post every 5-day challenge I set myself on Project Maxim. I would sit in front of my laptop with a blank word document and try to write. I would write a few sentences, then delete it. I knew this wasn’t the way I wrote best because every post I’ve done so far has come from sitting quietly and having an idea pop in my head. These ideas appear on bus journeys, in my room, or when I am pooping. Then I put this idea onto paper and write a blogpost about it. There’s no drafting and no planning, I just write.

With this challenge, there was now a deadline. When day five came around I forced myself to create an idea and make a post, but that never worked and I ended up not meeting the deadline. I wanted to find out if I could go into this “idea-creation state” at will.

Before you play sports, you warm up. If you play basketball you might stretch, shoot some jump shots and do some layups. If you play ultimate you’ll stretch too, practice throwing and catch two-handed. Before a job interview you would prepare yourself by anticipating questions, researching the company and dressing well. What was my warm up for writing then?

I thought creating a warm up routine for writing would be perfect. I start it by getting off my chair, jogging on the spot, and having good body language. Then I’ll repeat, “I feel alive! I feel great! I feel awesome!” because fake=real. That removes the watching-my-news-feed-on-Facebook-searching-for-a-dopamine-hit effect and makes my mind feel awake again. Then I’ll do what Kyle Cease does in this video and talk out loud about the outcome of my blogpost. I’ll say, “I just finished writing a great blogpost. It was amazing. I got loads of comments on it with people telling me how useful it was.” Then I sit quietly and meditate. The last few times I’ve done this it has worked amazingly. This blogpost has come from doing this warm up. I already predicted the outcome – it’s going to be amazing and I’ll get loads of comments!

This works a lot better than saying “I am going to write a good blogpost” because that sentence still leaves some doubt. I know I can’t predict the future, so by speaking in the future tense I continue holding that doubt. But by speaking in the past tense, it’s almost like my mind is saying, “Shit I gotto catch up because I’ve already done the blogpost.” And I end up doing it.

I wouldn’t play a 90-minute football game without warming up, so I’ll start warming up my brain before writing.

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