Thursday, January 24, 2013

How To Train Yourself To Become Massively Inspired And Write Till Your Fingers Fall Off

Thing you should know: One of the things I do when I'm not writing is going to graduate school, and I'm studying psychology. I absolutely love it- almost every second of it. (Minus that one professor who talked about grammar syntax, Latin verbs and advanced mathematics the whole time. I like talking about feelings, not verb conjugation.)


One of the hard things about giving yourself a tight deadline to finish writing something is when you just aren't feeling it. When you sit in front of the computer, and you can't even type a complete sentence.
Those days are the WORST.

Now, there are those people who say that you can't force yourself to be creative. This is true. However, you can trick yourself into being creative. This does not happen overnight, but I pretty much guarantee that if you follow the directions, you, too, will be able to literally flip on the creative switch at your leisure.

Special thanks goes to Ivan Pavlov and Kenny Chesney for the inspiration of this excellent method.

Anyone who's ever taken Psychology 101 has heard of Ivan Pavlov. (Quick review now.) Pavlov was a researching the physiology of digestion of dogs when he discovered the concept of conditioning. He realized that if there was a constant stimulus before he appeared with food, regardless of what the stimulus was, the dogs was start salivating when exposed to the stimulus, regardless of if there was food there or not. Pavlov decided to try it consciously to see if the phenomenon was consistent, and used a bell as (what is called) the conditioned stimulus. The rest, of course, is psychological history.

Kenny Chesney has a song entitled "I Go Back"- a song about how a certain song triggers very specific feelings and memories about his teen years.
"...Well, I heard it today and I couldn't help but sing along/'Cause every time I hear that song/I go back......We all have a song that somehow stamped our lives/takes us to another place and time..."
Some songs are just like that, aren't they? You'll turn on a song, and you're transported to that crazy road trip, to studying for that final in college, to that boy. Everyone's got their go-to songs when it comes to needing to conjure any type of mood- music is incredibly powerful like that.

What has this got anything to do with you and your creativity? And how can we combine these two excellent but strangely random pieces of information to hack into your creativity?

The first thing you need to do is pick a song that gets you into book mode. You know the song- the one that gets you into the mindset of your book, your characters, your authorness. Got lots of songs? Start with only one song- it's easier and faster.

Warning: You're going to be listening to this song A LOT. I hope you like it.

Have a crazy flow of creativity? Before you start writing, turn on your designated song. Put it on repeat. Have the song playing in the background, loud enough that you can hear it, but not loud enough to distract you from creating. (If there is no such decibel that will distract you, put it on loud enough that you can hear it but not loud enough to make you go deaf. There is no need to sacrifice your ear for art, even if Van Gough did it.)
When your spurt of creativity drains, turn off the song. What you're trying to do is equate your song to spurts of incredible creativity, so having the song playing when you AREN'T feeling creative won't help so much.

Now, like with Pavlov's dogs, and with all other incidences of conditioning, the only way for this to work is to rinse and repeat. Every time you feel a rush of creativity, turn on your song. Rinse and repeat.

After doing this a bunch of times, there will come a day where something truly magical will happen. You'll sit down with your laptop, notebook and ballpoint, typewriter, or quill and parchment, turn on your song, and BAM.
Instant creativity.

-Hope this helps you with your dry spells... let me know what happens.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a song to listen to until it comes out of my ears- I have a number count I'd like to get to today. :)

Happy Writing!


PS: If this post was helpful, I'd love for you to share it with other writers and creators you know. The more the merrier, right? Right. :)


  1. This is a great idea, KK! I'm a psychology undergrad and I've been trying to use classical conditioning to make writing easier for a while now (like associating my desk with writing). I've had mixed results. However, I think your idea to associate a song with creativity is a much better way to foster writing success. I'll definitely give it a go!

    1. Always worth it to take psychology and use it to your benefit :) good luck and let me know what happens! -KK