Kickstart Your Brain
Today, we’ll be looking at kickstarting the brain to “wake up” your mind and really engage with creative thinking, pushing all other thoughts away. Then in the main exercise, you’ll learn to filter those thoughts and “pan for gold” to develop the best of your ideas.
Today’s exercise is a “Spring Cleaning” for the mind that leaves only the most creative thoughts, priming the brain for action. I’d advise that you find a quiet space, free from distractions, and leave yourself time to do the activity portion of the day straight after the meditation. The reflection stage can be returned to at any time.
So, here are the stages of “Spring Cleaning” for you to follow:
• Write the title of your latest project on a large, blank sheet of paper, right in the middle. It might be a song you’re trying to write, a novel, a composition, a painting, a new character for an role-playing game, etc.
• Sit back in your chair and relax your body, but keep your eyes on the page.
• Now, allow your mind to think for itself. This means that unrelated thoughts will pop in, and when they do, let them pass you by. Keep nudging your mind back toward the project, clearing all other ideas away.
• As thoughts related to the project pop up, write them down on the page somewhere, then return to your relaxed position and wait for the next one.
Do this for ten minutes (timed) or until the page is full.
You now have a page full of ideas relating to your project. There are two things we can do with this information to transform it into useful, workable ideas: prioritize and connect.
To prioritize, go through the list and grade your statements using the alphabet. “A Grade” ideas are those most important to your project, the ones you’ve chosen to focus on, so make sure they stand out. “B Grade” ideas need to be considered but are not quite as important, and so on, all the way down to “Z Grade” thoughts, which you may decide are not important at all.
To connect, take a pen/pencil of a different color, and mark up the page by joining sets of related ideas. These ideas could be connected by a theme (for example, ideas relating to characters of your story) or grouped by their function (for example, adjectives you want to use in your song).
After a break, take a look at the ideas you’ve produced and the choices you’ve made about priority and connection. Which of these conclusions have you come to before? Which of these are new? Have you (or can you) make new links that you didn’t see earlier? Can you develop an action plan based on your priorities or a definite theme for the work from your connections? All these things will be useful moving forward in your project!
If you’ve never done meditation before, then you may not find this easy, but every exercise you do will strengthen your mental control. Once you learn to stem the non-constructive thoughts and let the creative ones flow, everything gets just a little bit easier!
Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at relieving stress: a major factor that can harm your creativity before you’ve even started a project.
Until then, keep practicing!
If you’re finding the art of meditation tricky, research apps and websites that will help you train your brain further. The Independent’s Ten Best list is a great place to start.
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