July 12, 2016
Note From Rochelle
I’m getting ready for my annual social media sabbatical. It’s probably the best—and hardest thing—I do. For two weeks, I don’t check email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. And although I return to a mountain of email, it’s worth it. I’m able to take time to read, write, and draw. My brain and body heal from the constant strain of keeping up with work and news and social media.
I’ll be offline for the next two and a half weeks. You’ll still get these tips, but I won’t be in the office. I’ll be back at my desk on August 2nd.
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Clear Brain Clutter by Rochelle Melander
“When seeking guidance, don’t ever listen to the tiny-hearted. Be kind to them, heap them with blessing, cajole them, but do not follow their advice.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
It’s hard work—this writing thing. All this thinking and imagining and creating takes a whole lot of brain space. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, connecting mostly online or in person, chances are your brain is overloaded. Spending our time rapidly switching between tasks (texting, reading, tweeting, writing) or taking in too much information can leave us feeling overwhelmed and lead to under-functioning.
According to a recent study by Angelika Dimoka, director of the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University, when the prefrontal cortex gets overloaded with information, it shuts down. This part of your brain makes decisions and regulates emotions. When it closes up shop, you’re more likely to make stupid mistakes or bad choices.
All of us—especially writers—must clear out our overcrowded brain. Don’t let too much bad news or poor writing clog up your brain space. Keep clear of negative voices. Complainers, criticizers, and naysayers all pollute your precious brain.
Try this: take a week-long (or more!) sabbatical from external noise. If you can, eliminate social media, phone, and email contact. (I know! I’m asking for a miracle!)
Spend the week experimenting with input: what sorts of reading, music, art, television, and movies nourish you and your creativity?
When your social media sabbatical is over, consider:
+What voices you are longing to hear again.
+What voices are you not looking forward to hearing again?
Reconnect only with the voices and input that work.
Also ask: How do you want to take in information from now on? Does serial tasking or rapidly switching between tasks work for you? Do you prefer spending a set amount of time on a single task?
Finally: if you can’t do the experiment—consider what toxic or troublesome habits and voices you can let go of. Do it! And as you take on new habits and voices, choose the ones that improve your life in some way.