How many times have you felt like you’ve had a broken brain? You know… like when your mind just refuses to work? When a word is just beyond reach? When an idea can’t seem to fully form. Or how about when forgetfulness rules the day? Some might call that a bad day or give it a technical term like a cognitive malfunction, but I call it broken brain.
I get broken brain a lot. Too much actually. I can go whole days where words and thoughts just aren’t coming out like they should. Hell, I’ve had whole weeks like that. It’s frustrating to know the word you want to use, but can’t quite get it from the brain to tongue, or brain to page.
So is there a cure? Can this malfunction be restored? Can the broken brain be repaired?
I’m sorry to say I have no cure all, no magic fix, but I have found somethings that can help alleviate some of the more severe episodes of the infamous broken brain. And here they are…
Take a Walk
I do this one a lot, especially when I’m upset about something (like accidentally deleting a file and not backing it up… doah! That’s a true story by the way!!!!). Yep, a walk is a real good way to get out that frustrating energy and it is also a fabulous way to work out ideas or thoughts. Oh and of course the exercise aspect is hard to beat too.
But here’s the catch. These fix-the-broken-brain walks have to be without the distraction of music. So no headphones! Just you and the road, or sidewalk, or wherever. Tune out the world around and let your brain take over. Or try the other way, pay close attention to the things around as you walk, and let the world and/or people you see be the inspiration for your next brilliant idea!
I try to do 15 to 20 minutes of meditation everyday. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I usually manage to meditate at least 5 days a week. And my brain is soooooo much happier when I do. The moments I take to meditate by either focusing on a particular idea and working through that idea, or clearing the mind completely and letting my overactive brain take a much needed break, helps me focus on the things that I need to concentrate on. It can also give my overactive brain a much needed rest before diving into my crazy life once again.
This is a powerful weapon, especially for writers. Don’t believe me? Then I dare you to try it. Take 10 or 15 minutes and just write. You can write about a specific topic to help work out some kinks. Or you can write about whatever comes to your head and get those pesky thoughts out of the way. The key is to NOT stop writing for the entire 10 to 15 minutes. Let it all just pour onto the page. Magical things happen when you just let it flow. Give it a try and see for yourself!
Take a Drive or a Shower (or bath if you prefer)
Lol.. yes, it’s true. Just about every freaking time I step in the shower or take drive down the road I get an idea that I just have to jot down. Sometimes I remember it and sometimes I don’t. But I love knowing that I can usually find the solution to a difficult plot problem or figure out the name and traits of my next main character by either turning on the water or getting behind the wheel of a car. It doesn’t always work on demand of course. Sometimes I figure out problems I didn’t even know I had. The worst part is remembering it all long enough to write it down before my dumb broken brain decides to forget it all or parts.
Take a Nap or Go to Sleep at Night
It never fails that I can workout whole scenes and/or plots to entire books as I attempt to drift off to sleep. It’s a maddening thing, especially when it eats away at my sleeping time. But it’s also been responsible for some of my biggest breakthroughs. And yes, I’ve lost a lot too because I DIDIN’T WRITE IT DOWN! Lesson number one… Don’t wait until morning. Pick up a notebook or scrap of paper and do it right then! Or the broken brain will whisk it all away.
Talk it Out
Another fabulous way to get around broken brain is to talk or email someone (usually a writing friend or colleague you trust to give good advice) plot or character ideas and get their opinions. Sometimes that extra little help is all it takes to jolt the memory or receive the appropriate inspiration to get things going good. The best part is that asking others for their opinions is a great way to also get new and different perspective on things. And that sort of help is priceless.
So broken brain isn’t fatal. It isn’t even completely debilitating. Sure it’s annoying, but it can be worked around. Next time you get broken brain try out some of my suggestions. Or if you have suggestions that have worked for you, feel free to share with the rest of us fellow broken brainians in the comments below!