The human body is a magnificent creation. Complex and amazing in all that it is capable of doing, yet frustrating as hell.
When we work out, our muscles quickly adapt to the exercises we are performing. It doesn't take long before the exercise becomes easy and less effective. Therefore we have to change it up and surprise our muscles so they will say, "Whoa, wait a minute. What just happened? Ow, that hurts. Hey, that's not fair. I'm not used to you moving me that way. Damn, now I have to work harder to adjust." Thus the results we are looking for can then be achieved :-)
The brain is the same way.
Stubborn, very smart, and quickly adaptable!
It's like when we sit down to write. Many times we get stuck, and the harder we try to be creative and come up with something new, the more difficult the task. That's when it's pointless to keep sitting there. I'm not saying give in to writer's block. I'm saying "fool" it.
I like to multi-task. If the dishes need doing or beds need made, etc, I will tackle that chore. However, I keep the TV off and the radio off and start running through ideas in my head. Still thinking about my story but my brain is being divided and I'm not trying so hard. The next thing I know, the best ideas come to me. My poor house often gets left mid-task because when inspiration strikes, I drop everything and sit back down to write. The task can wait. The idea might be lost forever.
Another thing I've discovered is we tend to dream about the last thing we see, read, or talk about. Be it a movie, a book, or a conversation with my hubby. I will wake up with some crazy, vivid dreams. Back in college, I would always study right before bed, and I would be amazed that when I woke up, I remembered so much more.
Here's a great tip. Read the last scene you wrote right before you go to bed, and keep a notebook and pen handy on your end table. You'll be amazed when you dream about your characters and wake up with such vivid scenes and great ideas the next morning.
Lastly, when it comes to editing, our brains are very good at skimming over errors because they've seen the work a thousand times and know what you meant to say. That's why it's nearly impossible to be objective about our work, and so easy to miss simple mistakes.
If you sit in the same place and write at the same time, etc, your brain quickly adapts and compensates for that. So we must fool our brains by surprising them just like we did with our muscles. We want our brains to be saying, "Whoa, wait, is this something new? Have I seen these words before? I'm not really sure, so I guess I'd better pay closer attention and not skim."
The way to do that is to print the document, but in a different way. Change the color of the ink, single space the document, etc. Then print it off and sit in a different room, maybe even at a different time of day. Anything to wake your brain up and make it pay attention. Even reading your work aloud or having someone else read it to you will help. You will be surprised at the errors you catch.
So tell me...how do you all outsmart your brains? Any tips to share?