3 Easy Methods for Training Your Brain to Create Better, More Original Ideas

It’s Julie Hassett, and I’m taking over The Writer’s Life for the first week of 2015.

Yesterday, I shared an important trait that all A-list copywriters have in common. And I showed you how I set up a structure that keeps you hungry for learning every day.

As you can imagine, once you start voraciously absorbing news, novels, articles and textbooks, your brain is going to be chock-full of information.

So full, in fact, you may need someone (or something) to come sort it all out.

That’s when it’s officially time to welcome your first employee: your subconscious.

This was a lesson I learned from Carline Anglade-Cole’s presentation at Bootcamp last October.

Lesson #3: Make your subconscious your first employee.

Carline simply said, “Make your subconscious your first employee.”

Now, I had already read a book called A Technique for Producing Ideas. In it, I learned that original ideas form when bits of learned information bounce around in the brain and connect to other pieces of data. These new ideas are always unique to your brain and thought processes.

But I had never thought I could actively train my subconscious to do my bidding until Carline put it so simply.

Since then, that’s what I’ve been doing, and I want to share three easy methods to help you do the same:

  1. Theta Meditation. This puts your brain waves into a theta state – similar to where they are in between waking and sleeping. This creates ideal conditions for creative problem-solving and original idea-forming.

    In order to do it, it helps to have a guided sound meditation. I bought a CD online called Theta Meditation System.

    I use it one of two ways. I either have it on in my headphones very quietly while I’m writing … or, if I get stuck on something, I lie down with my headphones on and breathe for 10 minutes with the meditation playing.

    This helps get me back into a flow. Often, those elusive ideas come unstuck and tumble out onto the page.

  2. Working while sleeping. Sometimes, when I wrap up my writing time, there’s still an unfinished problem at hand. So, I talk to my subconscious before I fall asleep and make a request for it to perform during the night.

    I say, “Brain, I’m having some trouble getting that lead to transition nicely into my introduction. I need an idea that will tie the two together seamlessly. When I wake up tomorrow, please have a solution for that. Thank you. Good night.”

    I’ve found this technique particularly helpful when I’m stuck on a headline or an attention-grabbing opening.

  3. Movement. Your subconscious loves to be left alone for a while during exercise. Anything from walking around the block smelling flowers to hitting an extreme CrossFit workout will give an overworked brain the chance to check out for a bit while your subconscious takes over in the ideas department.

So, what about you? Where in your life could you use a little “brain downtime”? Are you avoiding exercise? Do you find it difficult to meditate?

Whatever you need to do to train your subconscious to start working overtime while you relax a bit, make a place for it in your daily schedule. In the end, you’ll produce better, more original ideas.

And, think about it … you’re getting paid to creatively loaf! How great is that?

Let me know in the comments what you do or what you’re planning to do this coming year to train your subconscious in as your first employee.

Tomorrow, I’m going to delve into a very practical, yet shockingly overlooked, technique for getting paid work …

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Published: January 7, 2015

8 Responses to “3 Easy Methods for Training Your Brain to Create Better, More Original Ideas”

  1. To anyone who's not tried it, #2 might seem a bit silly, but it definitely works. I have been using that trick for years and have gotten solutions almost every time. Thanks for a great article.

    TK Garrett

  2. That is amazing. I have started to practice brain downtime for one hour daily specifically before I go to bed 2 months ago. It was not too long before the idea of a new business was launched. I really did not see it as my first employee. Your perspective gives me a better understanding on how to put it to work for my advantage. Thank you.

    Guest (catherine)

  3. Hi Julie. Where did you buy the Theta Meditation System? Is it the CD created by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson?


  4. Hi Julie, thanks so much for your article. This advice will help me expand what I've already been working on.
    For years now, I've been doing what I call 'breath meditation.' All I do is sit for twenty minutes in the morning and focus my attention on my breath. I don't do anything else. As to be expected, my brain will start thinking about something. Without judgment, I bring my attention back to my breath. This technique has really helped me to focus better on whatever I'm doing.

    Bridget Stoll

  5. Taking a break and doing Tai Chi helps me.

    Guest (John Jacobson)

  6. For some reason "creating order" in my house make my problem-solving juices flowing. The problem with that is that my hands are wet by the time I want to write it down.

    Other times are when I am watching a great movie. Animation movies, ones with a more serious theme gets me emotional and when I start to think about what is happening to me and why, I dish up many ideas.

    Guest (Christa Coetser)

  7. A bit late here. Also a songwriter, the escape of full conscious thought to capture creativity is well known in that world too, not quite sleeping and not quite awake. For me in songwriting it was picking up my guitar, relax fully, and just get lost in whatever my fingers decide to play. I'd never tried that for copywriting... maybe I will! I like the breathing idea too. What was the audio you listen to Julie? I might want to check it out as well.

    Brad Dunse

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