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When Mental Clutter Limits Your Writing, Clearing Your Mind Takes New Meaning


If you feel scattered and find it difficult to focus your attention on your writing, you’re not alone, not weird, not wrong. You’re probably suffering from mental clutter. Your brain is filled with too many things to think about, remember, ponder, take action on. You’re struggling to make sense of a cacophony of demands on […]

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Pulling Out of the Writer’s Stress Spiral of Death


 My last post explained how chronic stress rewires the brain to make the limbic system more reactive and the cortex less active. The more stress we feel, the more we react from the limbic system, the more we rely on the limbic system, the less creative we can be and more stressed we feel. How […]

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Are You Spinning In a Stress Spiral of Death?


Okay, that’s a bit dramatic; let’s make that the stress spiral of creative death. What Do Writers Have to Stress About? As writers, we have plenty to stress about: the craft challenges of writing effectively, our fears of rejection, the vulnerability writing requires, accepting the uncertainty that is a necessary part of creativity. As if […]

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What Conscious Writers Need to Know About Writer’s Block


Why do you do that? Waste an hour with email or social media? Or find another way to distract yourself away from writing? Why do you wait to write? Or edit the same paragraph again and again? Why is so hard (at times) to do what you love? It might be time for a reminder: […]

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Forget Plot Outlines! Is Your Habenula NaNoWriMo Ready?


(NOTE: Not even considering NaNoWriMo? Keep reading; this stuff applies to any writer.) Of course, knowing who your characters are, what they want, what they need and what stands in their way is important, but if your habenula isn’t firing right, NaNoWriMo is going to be a month-long lesson in frustration. To be precise, I […]

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What Rejection Really Means to Writers


How much pain will you endure to bring your writing into readers’ hands? Writers don’t have to suffer for our art, but we do have to endure rejection along the way. And rejection hurts. Literally. Neurological research demonstrates that social exclusion and physical pain trigger the same type of activity in the anterior cingulate and […]

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Do You Have the Writing Space You Need?


I don’t mind my desk being messy, if it’s my mess. Drafts with notes, books I’m reading, student drafts, client folders or process toys (thumb piano, markers, coloring books, mini jigsaw puzzles) co-mingle on my work space just fine. I bristle a little when household accounting and bills end up here (even if I put […]

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Step 3 Out of Too Distracted to Write: Respect Your Resistance


From previous posts, you know that Step 1 is to recognize you are distracting yourself away from writing (or using another form of resistance). Step 2 is to relax, which will bring your creative cortex back online. Your next step is to respect the wisdom of your resistance. How can there possibly be wisdom in […]

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Too Distracted to Write? Here’s Your Next Step


When you realize you’re too distracted to write, kudos! Recognizing distraction (or any other form of resistance) is Step 1 in responding effectively. As soon as you recognize the distraction, you can stop wondering if you have ADHD and takes steps to refocus your attention and get back to writing. Your next step is to […]

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Are Your Writing Goals Too Ambitious?


“Shoot for the stars. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Right? Wrong. Dangerously wrong. Overly ambitious writing goals often backfire. “Give it a try, what do you have to lose?” is not always your best strategy. What you have to lose is your motivation. If you failed before or anticipate the possibility […]

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