I like comparing the human mind to a computer with an operating system installed on it: the cleaner the system is, the better it works. When you keep your mind clear, you are more productive and efficient than when you consume different kinds of “mental fast food,” as I call it: TV serials, gossip, low-quality comic books, and so on. Along with thinking and cognitive processes, this “fast food” also affects such a crucial mental condition as inspiration in a negative way. However, the amount of factors that can break your inspirational flow is significantly larger. I will pay attention only to the most common ones.
1. The aforementioned mental fast food. This is the content you consume daily, considering it to be useful, but which is in fact a blocker (or distraction) for your inspiration—they occupy your brain without allowing you to produce anything. News is a perfect example of such fast food. Although there definitely are news stories important for any person (warnings about coming hurricanes, or something regarding your profession and occupations, for example), mostly it is about events that are sensationalized rather than presented in a realistic fashion. TV shows (reality shows, talk shows, singing contests, etc.) are devastating for our inspiration. Their only function is to create an illusion that your brain is processing information, whereas this information is no more valuable than chewing gum.
2. Laziness. Sometimes we feel worn out, tired, and unwilling to do anything, and it is normal. Having a chance to spend a day or two worrying about completely nothing is precious. However, long-lasting passiveness can have destructive results on inspiration, although it may seem the absence of external distractions should be beneficial for creativity. In fact, when nothing happens, you have nothing to write about (or you have no new impressions that can boost you up). The best way to rest is switching from one activity to another. By switching, you keep your mind focused without getting bored by the monotony of working on a single task, and get filled with new ideas. After giving yourself a while to replenish your physical and mental strengths, you should switch to something interesting to you.
3. Being too negative. Of course, sometimes negativity can be an engine for your creativity. George Carlin (as well as many other satirists) is a perfect example of how a person can turn negativity into creativity. However, if you keep bothering yourself with negative thoughts, you will have an outcome of zero, as you’ll spend your inner resources on negative emotions by which such thoughts are usually followed. Being negative about yourself (and your writing) is the worst thing for your writing. Try to be positive about 80% of time, and leave the other 20% to inspire yourself in George Carlin’s way.
4. Being unable to say “no” to distractions. This is, perhaps, one of the hardest things to do. If you are a nice person, you can feel uncomfortable refusing people when they ask you for a favor. Or you may find yourself being suddenly overwhelmed by numerous minor but urgent tasks you’ve been delaying for some time. For example, when you finally feel like writing another chapter of your book, you may remember you need to pay the bills, buy some milk for your cat, throw out the garbage, call your mom, and pick up your daughter from school. Certainly, many of these tasks are important. But your writing is as important as these tasks are! When you finally feel like writing, it’s a precious moment that needs to be valued and cultivated. Determine your priorities. For example, you must pick up your daughter up in 40 minutes, and if you don’t pay the bills today, your electricity at home might be shut off, whereas your mom, your cat, and your trash can wait until you finish your writing.
Well, these are just some of the most common things to avoid if you care to stay inspired and full of creative ideas. Stay updated. More about inspiration is coming!
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