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Article Teaser: What happens in your brain when you try to write? My clients report a number of distractions and doubts. Listen in....

Keep reading below...

Taming the Monkey Mind

Copyright (c) 2009-2017

Huston Smith wrote the following about meditation. He could have been talking about writing. See what you think:

The restless mind can be likened to a crazed monkey cavorting about its cage. Or rather a drunken crazed monkey. But more! — a drunken crazed monkey that has St. Vitus' Dance. Even this is insufficient. The mind is like a drunken crazed monkey with St. Vitus' Dance who has just been stung by a wasp. Those who have tried to meditate will not find this metaphor extreme.

What happens in your brain when you try to write? My clients report a number of distractions and doubts. Listen in:

  • I need to do more research.

  • I'm not a real writer. I should quit.

  • Maybe I could create a product for . . .?

  • I wonder if I could find those shoes online?

  • I need to update my status on Facebook.

  • Oh, oh, oh! I have a great idea for a book.

  • Did I ever answer that email to . . .?

  • Take the distracting thoughts, add in a couple of ringing phones, the ping of mail coming in, kids or coworkers stopping by with questions—and be amazed that anyone writes anything.

    Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell calls this Attention Deficit Trait. He says, "It's a condition induced by modern life, in which you've become so busy attending to so many inputs and outputs that you become increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, restless and, over the long term, underachieving. In other words, it costs you efficiency because you're doing so much or trying to do so much, it's as if you're juggling one more ball than you possibly can."

    Fortunately, the fix is easy.

    1. Schedule time to think. Anyone who creates needs quiet time to mull over ideas and organize their thoughts. It's tough to do that when machines and people are vying for your attention. Commit to giving yourself at least 30 minutes of quiet time each day. Do not use this time to read, write, or talk on the phone. Just be. Go for a walk, take a drive, or simply sit in a chair and stare out the window.

    2. Change your environment. When we spend 90% of our computer time responding to the ping of our email or playing games on Facebook, it can be difficult to use the same space to write a sales letter or a poem. If possible, take your writing to a new environment. Use a local library or coffee shop as your writing studio. If you need to write at your computer, find ways to make writing time different from work or play time. For example:

  • Shut the door of your office and turn off your phones.

  • Turn off all Internet access and close your email.

  • Set aside or clear away the rest of your work from the space.

  • Change your desktop's wallpaper for your writing time.

  • Use music or lighting to help define your writing time.

  • 3. Keep a Monkey Mind file. When you write, keep open a separate document to record the thoughts of your monkey mind. That's where you can jot your wild ideas for new projects, possible future careers, reminders to get gifts for your in-laws, and anything else that your brain throws at you. At the end of your writing time, review the monkey mind file and transfer information to the appropriate place (your to-do list or another project file).

    Readers, take heart. Everyone who writes needs to learn how to tame the monkey mind. Don't believe that some writers are immune to this. They're not. They're just more experienced at getting their minds to quiet down for a few minutes a day. Learning these skills takes time and effort. But guess what? The more you write, the easier it gets!




    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Right Now! Coach Rochelle Melander supports people in writing to transform their lives and businesses. If you're ready to establish credibility, make more money, and market your work by writing a book, blog, or Web site, get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at http://www.rightnowcoach.com

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    Internal ID: #6763
    Article Statistics
    Word Count: 630

    Total Views: 2635

    Article Rating: 2.27 of 5
    Votes Cast: 11

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    Last Distribution Date:
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