Are You Past Your Mental Peak?

As freelance writers, we’ve got to shake things up regularly and keep our minds fresh so we can pen inspired copy.

One of the best ways do this is to practice “spontaneous creativity.”

It goes beyond just good sense – it’s also a physical necessity, unless you don’t mind your brain deteriorating.

Let me tell you a story to illustrate my point. It’s about the time I was outsmarted by a couple of 8-year-olds.

At the time, I was 15. I’d been attending a leadership seminar with other sophomores from around the state. Most of the instruction centered on how to be successful in life.

In one of the presentations, they had us do a brainstorming exercise. I can’t remember what we had to brainstorm, but I came up with a list of about five solid ideas.

Then the presenters brought two 8-year-olds out on stage. They had them do the same brainstorming exercise. Right there, in front of everybody and with absolutely zero hesitation, those two kids started spouting off all kinds of ideas. Between them, they came up with well over 50 solutions!

This demonstrated to us high schoolers how quickly we lose our ability to think outside the box.

I remember being supremely annoyed. At only 15, I was apparently past my mental peak.

Unfortunately, that’s the case for a lot of us. It’s a fact that brain cells deteriorate with age and thought patterns grow methodical.

Thank heavens, there’s a remedy. All it takes is constant stimulation to the creative side of your brain.

It’s not hard work either. The key is to be consistent. Below, I’ve listed 10 ways to consistently practice original thought and get your creative juices flowing. Doing so should help you lay some of those beneficial neural pathways I’ve been talking about all week.

  1. Read as much as possible about everything possible. After all, information sparks creative connections.
  2. Hang out with smart people. Intelligent discussions exercise your brain.
  3. Give yourself a time limit to figure out problems and pick a number so you’ll know how many solutions/possibilities you should come up with. I’ve heard that some top copywriters will come up with 100 different possible headlines. I wonder if they make themselves do this in a limited amount of time.
  4. Keep yourself physically fit. Getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating healthy food have a considerable impact on your mental powers.
  5. Join an improv comedy class.
  6. Don’t judge ideas as they come to you. Everything represents possibility. Wait and censor later.
  7. Practice your storytelling skills, and craft impromptu, random stories. Use these prompts to outline your story:

    “Once upon a time”

    “And every day”

    “Until one day”

    “And because of that”

    “Until finally”

    “And ever since then”

  8. Skim the dictionary, find a word at random, and write a headline using that word. Restrictions force you to think creatively.
  9. Gather details about your dilemma before you start thinking. In the writing world, this means do your research about the product or topic you’re writing about.
  10. Listen to Bach. A lot of folks swear his music sparks creativity.

Aim to do at least one of these things every day for a minimum of ten minutes a day.

Another way to spark creativity is by enrolling in an educational program. I can think of no better than the Ultimate Accelerated Copywriting Companion Series. It works very simply but is wildly effective. You learn the core lessons of copywriting, including when to stick to a formula and when to think outside the box. You learn from experts who’ve had success doing exactly that. And you have a great time along the way (I had a blast when I took it).

Find out how you can start.

And one more thing, one more way to look for creativity-prompting ideas is by “surfing” Facebook. It’s true! Read about it here.

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Published: February 2, 2012

3 Responses to “Are You Past Your Mental Peak?”

  1. Hi Mindy, you've been reading my mind! I have been wanting some information like this for a little while and mentioned it to Katie Yeakle yesterday.

    It's nice to know I am already doing one of those things ie. improv comedy class. It's a blast and definitely has you using your right brain and forces you to stay present, in the moment.

    I like the storytelling skills exercise you mentioned and I must focus more on my health as well.

    I have enrolled in the Live Companion Series and I'm really looking forward to starting! Bring on 2012.

    MalcolmFebruary 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm

  2. Mindy, These are great ideas! Thanks.
    I also appreciated your previous article on doing your daily routine differently.
    Another creative idea!

    ggwoodFebruary 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

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