Writer’s block (rī-tərz blok) noun
- The condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.
- A psychological inhibition preventing a writer from producing new work.
The brain is a complex and amazing organ. Two separate lobes being held together with a thick bundle of nerve tissues known as the corpus callosum, which effectively makes a full brain out of two half-brains. But what happens when it doesn’t work? Oftentimes, we are tempted to claim to be utilizing the wrong side of our brain. After all, if you’re a “left-brained” person then you tend to be more analytical and logical. How can you expect to be creative and expressive like your “right-brained” counterparts? It’s not your fault; you can’t help it; you’re just made that way—right? Wrong. It’s a myth!
Certain types of tasks and thinking tend to be more associated with a particular region of the brain, but no one person is fully right-brained or left-brained. In fact, we tend to do better at tasks when connections are being made throughout all areas of the brain, even for undertakings that are typically associated with only certain areas of the brain.
No more lies! Let’s rebuild some of our knowledge about our knowledge. Here are a few other interesting etymological myths about your noggin according to BrainFacts.org:
- We only use 10% of our brains.” This is one of the biggest misquotes of science, attributed originally to the work of American psychologist William James, who was speaking of brain energy rather than brain potential. Good luck finding a key that’s going to dramatically increase your intelligence, jumpstart your psychic abilities, or finally allow you to move your coffee cup with your mind. LSD anyone?
- Brain damage is permanent.” Nope. Even following a serious brain event, such as a stroke, the brain can often heal itself over time, reforming old connections and continually establishing new ones.
- “The bigger your brain, the smarter you are.” It sounds good in theory, but having a bigger brain does not guarantee more cognitive power. Our three pound brains are dwarfed by other animals. For instance, the elephant brain weighs about nine pounds; the whale brain can weigh up to 20 pounds. The tree shrew actually comes out on top. Its brain accounts for 10 percent of its body mass, while the human brain accounts for roughly two percent of its body mass. Who knew but the tree shrew?
- “Drinking alcohol kills brain cells.” Drink up (responsibly) — your neurons are safe! Of course, if you drink large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time, it can severely damage dendrites, the branch-like ends of brain cells.
- “There are 100 billion neurons (brain cells) in the human brain.” Close — new research says it’s more like 86 billion. Still nothing to sneeze at.
So if we have 86 billion neurons, and our brains are more amazing than anything we’ve ever been told, then why do some suffer from the famed writer’s block? Where did all that brain-power go and how did it just shutoff? Many times a block in ability, inspiration, or work performance can feel unavoidable; indeed, it seems to affect everyone, no matter what side of your brain hemisphere you think you’re using. From composing a simple email to writing a novel, the blockage is real! Here are a few ideas to help get you out of your funk from best-selling author Jeff Goins:
- Eliminate distractions.
- Create a bullet list of ideas.
- Listen to music (try mixing it up).
- Write a few lines (say something).
- Get your blood flowing (go for a brisk walk or run).
- Find a different sitting positing (or standing position).
- Read some poetry.
- Do some doodling.
- Try a cup of Cold Nitro Coffee (not after 1:00 PM).
- Change your routine.
- Check in with an old friend.
- Read some inspiring quotes.
- Keep moving forward.
- Wait until you feel “inspired.”
- Make excuses.
- Wallowing in self-pity.
- Check your social media.
Once you start moving, it’s easier to pick up speed. Feel your neurons making those connections and before you know it, your block will be a distant memory and you’ll be doing what you once thought impossible. Anyone can be a writer! Myth or Fact?
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