Chapter Three Questions

Chapter Three – Questions and Demands


1. What’s your best time of day when your brain cells are freshest? Can you do anything to protect this time? Is it possible? Sometimes it isn’t and that’s okay. If it isn’t possible, could you open up early mornings like Nicholson Baker or late nights like Roxane Gay? She mentions in some of her Q and A’s that she often gets a boost of energy and often writes at night. By looking at the other things we talked about – sleep, food, blood flow — can you optimize other times of day?

2. Take Arianna Huffington’s advice – write down something for your brain to work on in your sleep. Lie still when you wake up and your dream will surface. Then write down the images.

3. Play with napping, if possible. Remember in an earlier session, I mentioned Edison falling asleep by the fire with ball bearings slipping from his hands and hitting the pie pans below. Can you create an experience like that for yourself? Can you play with ideas as you’re falling asleep?

4. It might feel really strange but try to chase a hypnogogic hallucinatory state. I mean, you’re in bed, cozy, already dreamy. Why not try?

5. Keep that little snack at your desk. I’m not suggesting you binge between meals. I’m just saying, when you’re feeling depleted, a little snack might work.

6. Or a walk. Feeling stuck, get out of the house, if possible. Find ways to get blood flow to your brain.

7. I didn’t mention this earlier but I get good ideas when I shower, so showering has become part of my creative process. I don’t shower in accordance with some set schedule. I shower when I need to recharge. I shower when I’m stuck. Luckily I get stuck often enough that I don’t smell bad.

Overall, brainstorm new approaches. Do any give you, as Baker put it, a feeling that your mind is newly cleansed or befuddled – in a good way? Or create arresting visuals or help you find solutions to hard problems?

And as a follow up to previous weeks … How are your attempts at the practice of musing coming along — what I call writing while not writing? Are you looking closely at the environments when you’re most likely to get a good idea – or solution – and are you reconstructing that possibility of creativity?

Keep taking notes about those attempts and of course any ideas that drift into what Fowles calls the coast of consciousness.

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