How Fuzzy Brain Is Good for Writing

(Note, even though the date says April 10, the date posted is April 13)

Who says funcitoning on half a brain doesn't have merit?

That's the talk of the day. Read on, please. I'm pulling an Instant Message transcript straight from a conversation I had with my friend I'll call "Pam."

Topic: Thinking and writing from the fuzzy space in your brain.

The Deal: "Pam" had just returned from vacation and had post-holiday fuzzy-brain and wanted to snap out of it to be productive, especially for a writing session we were going to have later on.

I was trying to convince her that a case of fuzzy brain could be a good thing for generating ideas and doing the actual writing work.

PAM: My brain feels a little more engaged today. I've had such fuzzy brain.

ME: Well, there is value in that fuzzy brain you know.

PAM: Now I'm curious ... what's your thinking?

ME: Well, I think when we don't put a lot of focus on our very sharp and ready brain, there's a lot of movement going on in that foggy space. Sort of like chilling out and trusting what comes to the top. Or another example: like how we take a shower and get a good idea--could that happen because in the shower we put no pressure on ourselves to come up with any idea in the first place? And showers are hubs of fuzzy brain.

PAM: OK ... that makes sense ... relaxing your brain so stuff will bubble up on its own.

ME: I like that ... have you ever noticed that sometimes when you write and you aren't "into it" you do a better job because you're detached from it?

I have a story about this -- I'll tell you during our writing session today.*

PAM: I need a forcing habit, seriously, which seems to run counter to what you said above.

ME: OK. Today we can also set up a structure by which you can crank out the stuff you want to.

PAM: It's that journalist on a deadline mentality.

ME: I think ALL structures have their place. What might hold people back is when they define themselves by saying, "Well, I'm in THIS PLACE [fuzzy brain] so I can't work very well" ... and what if THIS PLACE offers just a different POV ...

[some time passes with no typing]

ME: I love the cow on your IM picture.

*The story. Some of the best, most lasting writing advice came from a Poli-Sci prof when I was an undergrad at the U of Washington in the Paleolithic era. He was preparing us to write a paper, and said. "Listen, don't fret it! Write the paper when you're really tired." And he left it at that. I didn't get it--I thought maybe he was some kind of stoner-teacher. But that weekend I went on a trip to the East coast and wrote the paper falling asleep from jet lag and waiting in offices for interviews. I hardly even remember writing the damn thing -- and I didn't have time to fret or do much re-reading. While I was a good writer, I wasn't adept at writing about Poli-Sci stuff (I forgot what the paper was about in less than a week after writing it). But using his technique of being super tired, I got an A along with comments on how well-thought out the paper was. Huh?

Ok, the point isn't to endorse writing onlky when you're narcoleptically tired. But how about from a frame of mind that is relaxed and at ease and chilled and even a bit fuzzy and in no mood for life?

Try it! Detachment can be a wonderful thing. Have fun.