I find it interesting that people in fields as diverse as business and sports all mentally rehearse before moving forward with physical activity.
As a writer it is expected so much of the work is mental. However there is mental activity and there is mental rehearsal and the two are very different, let me explain.
More than 80% of American Olympic athletes use a sports psychology technique called ‘Mental Rehearsal’ this is where the person closes their eyes and for example in a runner’s case, runs the race from start to finish, feeling it to be as real as possible.
You might at this point be asking what the point of this is. There is a very good point and it is this. The sub-conscious mind is unable to tell whether a thing experienced is real or imagined.
This means that the body’s reactions are the same regardless and because of this, simply playing the event in the mind will improve the athletes overall performance.
Musicians often use this as well and report improvements after mentally going through a piece.
If you think this sounds foolish, just stop and think about the last time you were emotionally frightened by a film on tv. Yes we’ve all been there.
You get caught up in the events of a scary film and all of a sudden your in-built Fight or Flight mechanism kicks in.
You knew you were watching actors on a screen, but your sub-conscious mind couldn’t tell the difference. It’s the same when we cry during an emotional scene, we forget that it’s not real.
As a writer you spend so much time thinking of new ideas, but so little time working on the craft of writing itself.
I suggest mental rehearsal before sitting down to write. With eyes closed, see yourself working well and feeling the way you have felt before, when everything was working for you.
Picture yourself working effortlessly, ideas flowing one after another, until you choose to finish and step away.
If you have ever experienced times when the writing wasn’t working and inspiration seemed to belong to the past, why not give this a try?
If you would like further food for thought you might like to read these books. Wake up and live by Dorothea Brande. The charisma myth by Olivia Fox Carbane, and the work Anthony Robbins and Bob Proctor, as well as the science of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)
I use this technique for one reason only, it works. Incidentally this will work for whatever you do, Dentist, Actor, Engineer, Driver.