This article will teach you how to write and think clearer, using the techniques of popular psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. You’ll learn how to organize your ideas and how to analyze patterns of thought and behavior. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to relax and allow yourself to be creative.
Why Should You Try This?
Writing is hard. Even when you’re following a recipe or using a well-known formula, your efforts will often be undermined by your own poor mental habits. It’s only by breaking bad habits that you’ll ever achieve good results. This is especially true when it comes to creative writing, where intuition and improvisation are essential. Your mindset and approach to writing will have a significant impact on the quality of your work. This is why it’s so important to work on thinking clearly.
With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to eradicate bad habits and gain clarity of thought and speech. You may find that this in turn will improve your creative writing, as you become more engaged with what you’re doing. You’ll also benefit from feeling more confident and authentic when writing. This is why you should try this method.
The Science Of Clarity Of Thought And Speech
In order to be able to write and think clearly, you first need to understand the science of thought and speech. What is popularly known as ‘mind pollution’ is actually a collection of bad habits that undermine our ability to think and express ourselves clearly. This is why most people have a hard time expressing themselves effectively in writing. These bad habits fall into three categories – discursive thinking, emotive reasoning, and reactive behavior. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Discursive Thinking
If you find that you’re constantly thinking about previous experiences, worrying about the future, or daydreaming about the past, you’re engaging in discursive thinking. This is when your thoughts wander away from the topic at hand and wander through various tangential subjects. It’s often the result of not exercising your brain’s executive functions sufficiently. Simply put, you aren’t using your brain’s full potential. When this happens, your thoughts become jumbled and chaotic. In addition to this, your language tends to wander away from its simplest form and get muddled up as well. This is why you end up saying things like ‘um’ and ‘you know’ a lot, even when you don’t actually mean to. It comes from not using your brain’s capacity to follow distinct trains of thought effectively. You’ll recognize this kind of thinking if you constantly come back to the same few thoughts over and over again, or if you find yourself constantly analyzing the same situation from different angles. Try to focus on one thing at a time, and be sure to exercise your brain by playing games or doing crosswords. If you want to learn more, you can read this excellent article by Nootz on discursive thinking.
2. Reactive Behavior
Reactive behavior is when you respond to a situation without thinking, and this can be both good and bad. If you have a positive outlook, you’ll see the benefit of this type of behavior, as you respond quickly and decisively to any challenges that arrive. This is what allows you to thrive in an environment where you’re constantly experiencing change. On the other hand, if you have a negative view of the world, you’ll find that reactive behavior can magnify any negative situation and make it worse. This is why it’s important to learn to control your reactions, as you can always choose how you’re going to react to a situation instead of letting your brain’s habituation determine how you respond. One thing you can practice is cognitive defusion, where you detach yourself emotionally from your thoughts. You can also develop the ability to suspend your judgments about a situation and allow yourself to see it from another angle. If you want to learn more, you can read this excellent article by Kabat-Zinn on mindful meditation.
3. Emotive Reasoning
Empotive reasoning is when you give undue importance to your feelings and follow them blindly, without considering the facts. This is a common flaw that underlies much of our behavior, especially in matters pertaining to love or hate. We become so invested in our feelings that we ignore objective reality in favor of subjective opinion. Emotive reasoning leads to poor decision-making and weak argumentation. It also makes you vulnerable to manipulation attempts, as people with evil intentions can use your emotions to get what they want. This is why it’s important to develop your logic skills and use the available evidence instead of relying on your feelings. You can also strengthen your ability to think abstractly by learning to focus on the big picture rather than specifics. Thinking in terms of patterns instead of individual items promotes effective problem-solving. In order to get clear heads when writing, it’s important to learn how to relax your brain and allow yourself to think creatively. Simply take a nice deep breath, and try to relax your mind as much as possible. This will help you think clearer and access your creative potential. If you want to learn more, you can read this excellent article on cognitive psychology.
How To Think Clearly When Writing
Once you’re able to separate your thoughts from your speech, it’s time to learn how to write clearly. There are several techniques that you can use to achieve this, including the effective ones mentioned below.
1. Active Reading
One of the most effective ways to read and write clearly is by engaging in active reading. When you actively read, you’re maintaining a high level of concentration, as you’re not allowed to turn the pages quickly. This allows you to truly immerse yourself in the text and understand it thoroughly. In order to write something, you’ll need to be actively reading. This will help you ensure that your writing is free of errors and ambiguities. In addition to this, active reading allows you to develop the skill of creative synthesis, as you connect seemingly unrelated ideas and information, forming new concepts and ideas in your mind. This is why it’s beneficial to read widely, as it helps you think creatively and improves your overall ability to write. If you want to learn more, you can read this excellent article on active reading.
2. Use Of Breaks
Taking frequent breaks is essential, as your mind will deteriorate after sitting down to write for several hours. This is why you should take regular breaks and ensure that you’re drinking plenty of water, as hydration will help your brain work more effectively. If you need to take a break, then do so. However, it is essential that you pick your spots where you can take a break and still come back with a clear head. Picking off-topic material, such as surfing the web or doing crosswords, will help you stay mentally sharp. Do what you can to ensure that your body is in good condition, as this will impact the quality of your work. Walking during breaks can also help clear your head and ensure that your concentration is not broken.
3. Take Notes
Taking notes, or jotting down key points as you read, will help you organize your thoughts and ideas better when writing. This is especially beneficial for long articles and books, as you can refer back to your notes frequently, instead of getting distracted by extraneous material. You can use different notepad apps on your phone or tablet to make taking notes more efficient. If you want to learn more, you can read this excellent guide on how to take notes more effectively.
How To Write Clarity In Your Own Voice
Another important tip to bear in mind when writing is to write in your own voice. This means that you should avoid using the language and style of popular culture, as it may confuse your readers. You should write in a way that is true to you and your experiences. This will help eliminate the so-called ‘style drift’, where you start moving away from your authentic voice, and settle into a way of writing that is closer to the popular culture you grew up with. If you want to learn more, you can read this excellent article by John Cleese on writing in your own voice.
The Importance Of Exercise
It’s well-established that exercise is important for overall mental health. It clears the mind and gives you a new perspective. Both of these are essential if you want to write clearly. Keeping your body in good condition will help you avoid getting distracted by physical pain, as you won’t be able to concentrate if you’re not feeling well. This is why you should make exercise a part of your daily routine. It will help you stay focused and alert when writing, as well as improve the quality of your work. If you want to learn more, you can read this excellent article by Deepak Chopra on the importance of exercise for writing.