How to center yourself and clear your head before writing

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Since I have  received this question several times (in many different ways) thought I would make a post of my response.

Question: I am  interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?

My thoughts on the Issue:

I have a process of doing this which has taken me many years to perfect. It starts with knowing a lot about what makes you and your mind work. For me it is a series of small things which cause me to slip into a mindset which enables this functional process. Secondly it is practice, the process of being productive in an abstract manor does not come naturally, and took me many years to be effective at. Like Mr. Universe did not pick up 250 pound dumbbells at age 8, neither was I able (or anyone else) to just naturally have that talent, it was grown and built. At the same time it is a process which is teachable and reproducible.

Here is the process I would recommend you to try

I. Remove stimulus which distracts you by overwhelming your input, what does this mean. For example: if you sit in the middle of a flock of birds you do not see any single bird the flock becomes a blur. Your vision sense is reduced and individual focus stimulus is removed

II.  Add types of things which make you lose focus of things outside your mind. Example of this, put on some headphones and play the same song (or short list of songs) repeatedly until you are so familiar with them that you don’t think of them anymore. This is really the same as number one but removing your audible stimulus.

III.  Give yourself time to think, you will sit and look at the screen and blur away from your work just like we did in Section I (but in an unproductive way) if you don’t know what you are about to write when you sit down. I go biking or some quiet independent activity and plan only to think during that activity each day, don’t sit down until you have 10 thoughts or so to write about. Then when you run out of those thoughts go back to the thinking activity.

IV.  Have a process of thinking and practice lengthening your thought process. Here is an example of a process of thinking deeply on a topic. This process can be applied to any topic you like and you should practice doing it for topics other than those you are required to write about. Just repeating this on a regular basis builds your cognitive ability.

  1. Think of the topic (any topic you are into).
  2. Make a list of all its attributes in your mind.
  3. Group the attributes into like categories in your mind.
  4. Make several thesis ideas relating the groupings.
  5. Connect and contrast the groupings to each thesis and see which of the thesis ideas are more accurate, or which hold up best.
  6. Connect each attribute to the thesis and see if the same accuracy still holds up.
  7. Make conclusions and define each path between grouping, category, and attribute.
  8. Now it’s time to write go sit down and make three lists.
    • On one side the thought process you went through on your topic from step (1 through 6).
    • On the opposite side your list the list of conclusions from step (7).
    • Your unique work and the most valuable piece now is the bridge between these two lists which is your third list. The content which fills in the gaps between these two lists will be the value you add to the world.
  9. After making these list write the summary of the process including how you went about each step and the results of your lists in step 8.

V. Practice doing this with small topics and for longer times each day, eventually you will do this process without thinking and will have stretched your ability to think in longer thought lengths and your overall cognitive ability.  You will build cognitive ability much a like an athlete builds a muscle by repeating the same exercise, building up resistance and difficulty in achievable increments over a long period of time. Thinking it will come fast or overdoing it will only frustrate you or overwhelm you which causes people to give up.

I would love comments if this helps you :)

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