How to See If you’re in the Writing Zone

IMG_2097Some mornings I’m brain-dead but don’t know it. If I try to write I will produce clumsy sludge. I won’t realize how bad it is until that evening when I’m awake and able to judge subtle things.

This ain’t good.

This morning is one such brain-dead morning and fortunately I discovered it before I started writing. Here’s how…

I went to a special web site where there are scientifically studied and validated “games” that you can play, five of them for free. You’ve heard of the place. I’ve been going there for over a year, off and on, trying to keep my mind sharp.

They keep track of how you’re doing, compared to how you’ve done in the past. And compared to others in your age group – if you really want to be masochistic. I used to look at my stats in detail, but I gave it up because I’m so tired of tests and evaluations I could… I don’t know, scream or something even less original.

So this morning I went there and played the five free games. I scored astronomically lower than usual on each of them.

That tells me that I’d better not try to write fiction right now. If I do, it won’t be pretty.

Later today I’ll be well caffeinated and at least half awake. I’ll go “play” those five “games” again and see if my brain damage is permanent or not. I’ll amend this post and let you know – assuming I remember.

You’re probably alert all the time and self-aware enough to know how awake and ready-to-go your brain is, but if there’s ever any doubt, go to lumosity.com, get a free account and play their five free games.

Here’s the link: http://www.lumosity.com

You will find that, compared to your age group, you’re kind of below average when you start. But trust me, if you’re a fiction writer, you’ll be in the 90th percentile and above in a few months or less – if you keep playing regularly.

Of course, there’s good scientific evidence that their games will improve various aspects of your thinking and memory. But I’m not sending you there for any of that. You’re young and you don’t need it.

I’m just saying you probably could use a tool to tell you when you’re in the “zone” for writing fiction. Maybe even help you get into the zone, I don’t know. Lumosity.com is that tool. Check it out, it’s free unless you decide to pay for a boatload of other “games” they offer.

One last thing… I’m putting quotes around “games” and “play” because these are not addicting games that will waste your time. These babies are endothermic… at least for me.

Remember from general chemistry how an endothermic reaction requires the constant input of energy. In a previous post I likened this to a text-book. Lumosity’s games are more fun than a text-book, by far, but they’re similar in that you need to put more energy into them than you will get back from them.

This is in contrast to exothermic chemical reactions that give off energy continually after you put in the “energy of activation.” I likened these to meaningful page-turners.

Exothermic reaction are also similar to the addicting-type video games like Halo.

Bottom line: Lumosity’s games: endothermic, but pleasant and highly useful, as well as beneficial to the mind.

See if you’re in the zone. Maybe even help yourself get in the zone.

Lumosity… You loved it as a child, you trust it as a mother. No, that was Wonder Bread. My bad.

M. Talmage Moorehead

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Update: I just played Lumosity today and it seems they’ve kicked me out of the free stuff. Oh, well. I guess they must have allowed me to play five free games for awhile after my subscription ran out. At any rate, I think they might have a free trial you can use if you’re interested. I highly recommend it. In fact, I’m going to shell out the bucks for a new subscription. It’s pretty cheap.

By the way, that’s Halo’s picture up top. She’s my new Labrador Retriever. She managed to get that red toy around her neck all by herself, and seemed proud of the accomplishment.

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