One of the greatest inventors/entrepreneurs of all time, Thomas Edison (you can call him the man that illuminated the world), had the habit of taking a nap whenever he was stymied by a problem. Cornell University Social Psychologist James Maas brilliantly named it “the power nap.”
For context, there are four stages of sleep. In about 20 minutes, you enter Stage Two. Stage Two is the state of memory consolidation, in which information you’ve learned is processed. Waking out of stage two has shown increased productivity, higher cognitive functioning, enhanced memory, boosted creativity, and feeling less tired.
Thomas Edison made the most of this body chemistry as a productivity technique to create some of the best inventions known to man. On a wider level of abstraction, this technique is founded on taking some time off a task (technically, procrastination) and letting your brain wander subconsciously, looking for answers.
This technique, at the crux of it, is basically what creative procrastination is all about, the point being to take time off a task after working on it for some time. While the conscious part of the mind is resting or focused on something else, the subconscious part of the mind is working overtime to consolidate information and solve problems.Continue reading
You’ve definitely heard this well-known quote from Greek philosopher Socrates: “I know that I know nothing.” His willingness to find and acknowledge the limits of his knowledge is what made him one of the wisest men in Athens.
Being able to examine the limits of your knowledge requires critical thinking. And it’s something writers should get familiar with. Why? Because it leads to better writing.
Getting a clear definition of “critical thinking” is about as difficult as the act itself. Generally speaking, however, critical thinking is the ability to do what Socrates did: examine facts from multiple angles and derive a conclusion from them. This can be applied directly to writing. After all, what is writing but observing the world, drawing conclusions others might have missed, and putting it all to paper? This is even true in fiction, where authors often strive to answer important questions about the things that make us human.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably not a philosopher. You’re a writer. But critical thinking is essential to your craft, especially when it’s broken down into these six skills.Continue reading
If you’re about to query a book-length memoir like I am, perhaps you’ve heard about having a platform—what author Jane Friedman defines as “an ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach.” As I discovered this summer, you can reach more people, and let them know who you are, by speaking at a conference.
The experience of speaking to an audience was at first daunting. Terrifying, even. Nonetheless, it showed me that public speaking is an excellent way for writers to build an audience for their book.
In this post, I’ll share with you my experience speaking at a conference and what I learned from it. I’ll also show you ways in which you could leverage the power of public speaking to create an audience, at the same time offering unique contributions.Continue reading
Ah, high school. Long may the memories of our idyllic youth reign. Care to ride a bus down memory lane?
Right now, you’re back in that big cafeteria, with its unmistakable aroma and stratified seating arrangement (including the categories “Talk of the town,” “Varsity athletes,” and “Stephen King die-hards”).
Or, you’re ecstatically celebrating your sports team’s victory, which validated your school community’s decision to tell the rival campus to, in essence, stick it.
Cool memories. So how come you didn’t go with “My English teacher rocks?”
Maybe it’s because you made your English teacher cringe. Like, a bunch of times.
How so? It was probably the bad writing habits that tend to pop up at that stage in our lives. Like acne and mood swings, such habits are inevitable. Perhaps your memories of your English teacher aren’t so rosy because they took pains to nip these habits in the bud.
The question is: are these habits a thing of the past? High school is so yesteryear, but can we say the same about our bad writing tendencies?Continue reading