1. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Mental Exercises, or keeping your mind sharp

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by nhope, Aug 15, 2010.

    What do you do besides writing? What keeps you focused, sharp, alert, and ready to write?

    I think I need a little help.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use meditation for a story there are many forms of meditation but I basically breathe in counting to three saying relaxation in, breathe out counting to five saying tension out. Then breathe relaxation in to each part of my body working downwards and breathing tension out. Once I am fully relaxed then I focus on the part of the story I am working on breathing the character or the place in. Takes time but I can now visualise what I am after. After meditation I am much more focused

    Baby Buddhas is a good introductory book.
     
  3. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't have any mental exercises, but when I have too much on my mind and feel too clouded to really write, I have a blog that I use just to sort out my thoughts and clear my head. I guess it's sort of my "venting" blog, but sometimes it really helps to post there, get all my thoughts out, and then return to my story.
     
  4. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I try to socialise. You know, go to the pub, talk and have a few drinks.............wait....hmm.

    I usually go for a walk/jog before the sun comes up every morning. Great way to think about stuff.

    Video games. Very debatable, but for me i find it gets me into some form of state.

    Oh, and reading. Bit obvious though.
     
  5. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Coffee and sufficient sleep.

    And Charlotte is right - meditation is definitely a useful tool for clearing a cluttered mind and regaining your focus. :)
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    especially when you have been writing until 3am and not getting enough sleep:)
     
  7. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Really enjoying what I do.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I do sudoku or a crossword puzzle from time to time.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    athletes need to exercise their bodies constantly, to keep in shape... writers need to do the same thing for their minds... but i don't see video games as doing any good for a mind that must be kept sharp wordwise...

    i do the hardest crossword puzzles [nyt sunday only] and the hardest acrostics, to keep words and meanings moving around in my brain...

    and for brain-down time, which is also necessary now and then, for one who's thinking/writing most of the day, every day, i do 1/1.5k-piece jigsaw puzzles, since they're only visual, don't need to use my brain's word-center...
     
  10. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I doubt he's talking about pong...
     
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  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Video games are brilliant for improving co-ordination and therefore writing/typing speeds improve, the games also have storylines. Music etc that are great for inspiration. I suspect my abilty to draw a reasonable fantasy world comes from many wasted teen hours playing the likes of Suikoden, Alundra, Breath of Fire III etc some of those have the best stories.

    I have to compete these days with my kids and my husband so barely get to play anything except the odd Wii game but oh yes I would go with them as a good way to bring about a form of meditation. Also anything where you can fight I find a brilliant tension release:) its how hubby and me solve less serious tension, we use a very old Buffy Vampire Slayer game and kick each others butt.

    For my ADD/ADHD type brain TV and Video games are some of the best ways to stop it spinning and help it go in a linear fashion. My daughter has some wonderful cartoons she has drawn and written based off her favourite games.
     
  12. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    I have ADD, not to mention my depression, and there are a few things that help focus my thoughts or at least calm my head down.

    Tetris. I play hours of Tetris. It's mentally stimulating, fast-paced, and exhausts the brain so that it can operate closer to normal speed rather than warp speed.

    Also, about 30 games of Spider Solitaire with some music, coloring in a coloring book, or doing a puzzle are relaxing to me.

    I do Sudoku and crosswords to keep my mind sharp as well as occupied. And I play instruments, which exercises the brain in a bunch of different places, is really fun, builds confidence, and is also just as creative as writing.
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I started learning ways to calm my brain down after a wonderful boss described my brain as working like a helicopter it spins round throwing out ideas at a ridiculous speed. Now I have that image I can use the meditation, the video games etc to stop the spinning. The increased speed at typing etc helps with that.
     
  14. Celestellia
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    Celestellia New Member

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    I love to do crosswords. Sudoku is all right but I prefer fill-it-in's. Meditation is nice but so is a good run where all I'm focusing on is the pitter patter of my feet meeting the ground and my breathing.
     
  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I play guitar. If I want mental exercise in a more formal way, I do the cryptic crosswords in Harper's and the Atlantic magazines. They're pretty tough, and I find cryptic crosswords are better mental exercise than regular crosswords, especially for a writer. At least, they require you to look at things from multiple angles, and that's fun.
     
  16. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I also do chess puzzles once in a while. I'm up to "mate in four" but those are pretty tough.
     
  17. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    In my off time, I like to knit. I also listen to music alot. Regular board games don't sound like a bad idea either.
     
  18. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to be rather active in RPs to keep my mind active and writing sharp. I stopped when I felt like it sucked too much of my creativity away from my book, but maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to start again...
     
  19. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do crosswords, listen to music, draw, find interesting and unusual words, play scrabble.
     
  20. Phlogiston
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    Read. Newspapers, a couple of technical philosophy blogs, books. I watch a fair bit of iTunes Uni video podcasts too. There are some awesome courses on there.

    Then discuss. Reading and taking in information and knowledge is one thing, but it's arguing and debating which make you apply it.

    If you have someone, or some people you are comfortable with, try arguing in favour of something you don't believe.
     
  21. Writer_of_Wrongs
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    Writer_of_Wrongs Member

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    Might I suggest something? I personally find music to be an interesting thinking supplement. Groups like Iron Maiden, Metallica, sometimes the occasional Jethro Tull, you know, bands that have good music, infused with great word play. I believe Weird Al has some really great lyrics, not just for comedy. Even big band jazz does some really interesting musical things that somehow not just calm the mind, but give new insights. Now, I am saying this because I am of a musical mind. When/if I get into college, I plan on majoring in music ed., but also minoring in English ed. So just a thought :D
     
  22. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Me too.

    I find time to relax and let the imagination run riot, I always tone it down when and if I write it.
    As for dealing with the blank page, I tent to doodle.
     
  23. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I doodle on my page as well. But then I have to snap myself out of it before I doodle across the whole page! (I like to keep my writing pages as clean as possible. It's just a pet peeve of mine) :D
     
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  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL if I am working with mine they need to good quality A4 with blue lines and red margin:) I just can't think with anything else. I doodle too thats how my story started I wrote instead of just doodling one night.

    I was having a crumby day something about this made me smile thanks:)
     
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