Member Update – Switching Gears

The process of repair of mechanical watches

Your brain tends to work in two modes.

One is a problem-solving mode… a learning mode… a crossing-things-off-my-list mode. When I’m working fast and furious through my to-do list, I think of this as the zone.

The other is a creative mode… a carefree mode… an I-don’t-have-to-think-to-create mode. When I’m writing and the words seem to be coming out through my fingers without any real thought and they’re actually good (or at least interesting), I think of that as the flow state.

As writers (and humans), we need both, but switching gears between the two can be hard.

Sometimes we need to be creative and other times we need to be analytical. Even in the most basic of writing projects, we begin in the analytical mode — asking questions, doing research, and organizing the bones of our piece — and then switch to the creative — writing our first draft — and then back to the analytical where we revise and edit and polish what we’ve written.

Because we need both modes to thrive and flourish, it’s helpful to know how to move between the two. (It’s hard, if not impossible, to be in both modes at once.)

There’s no single, correct way to flip into one mode or the other, so you’ll need to experiment to find what works for you, but here are some ideas to get you started.

Use Music

I use a tool called Focus@Will which has different kinds of music all designed to help you increase your focus.

I’ve found some of their selections work better for problem-solving tasks — those tasks that demand thought and analysis… the ones where you can get into the zone. And other selections work well for when I need to be creative. They help me drop into the flow state.

You can experiment with your own musical selections, maybe build lists on Spotify that are designed for productive work and creative work. You could even tailor several of each to suit your different moods.

Change Locations

If you have the space for it, it’s not a bad idea to have separate workspaces for productive, analytic work and for creative work. Your analytic space would be best well-organized and free of clutter. This is where you would answer your email, do your research, and edit your work. And then creative space would work better if it was a bit cozier, a bit messier. That’s where you would do your writing, drafting, daydreaming, and idea generation.

Set Up Rituals

Rituals are meaningful acts that call something specific to mind.

You could create a ritual you do that is meant to put you in a problem-solving mindset and another meant to drop you into a creative mindset.

For example, you could sit at your desk, take five deep breaths, and visualize the tasks you’re about to complete and the problems you’re about to solve. Or you could brew a mug of tea and meditate for five minutes before diving into your writing work.

Like I said, you’ll need to experiment to see what works for you, but if you come up with a reliable way to switch quickly into the mindset you need, you’ll find yourself being more productive and more creative.

New on the Site

The right free keyword research tools can help you connect with your audience, draw in more traffic, attract better-targeted traffic, and generate ideas. Andrew Murray shares six of his favorite research tools in our latest Tech Corner.

What do you need to succeed? Success looks different for everyone, but there are some common threads in a big portion of success stories. Suzanna Fitzgerald shares some key,  but often overlooked, elements to having a successful year as a freelance copywriter.

If there are things you’d like to see change in the next year, it helps to ask some hard-hitting questions before you start defining or tackling your new goals. I share my own personal Q&A process in this featured article.

Mark Your Calendar

January 6: It’s time for a fresh start, fresh goals, and fresh inspiration. If you struggle with procrastination, especially when it comes to the goals you’ve set for yourself, this Member Update Event is for you. We’ll look at ways to start your projects sooner and a few time-management tips that can help you get more of your important tasks done. I hope you’ll join us!

Around the Web

You’ll find some thoughtful tips here about combining good Search Engine Optimization and strong writing. I don’t agree with every tip 100%, but there are a lot of useful ideas.

A good read about the value of having a separate business and personal professional brand.

Thinking about working more video into your marketing efforts this year? Wistia shares some helpful tips on making your videos look sharp.

Stories can make your content stronger. Here are some ideas for how to find them and weave them in.

That’s all for now. Make it a great week!


Heather Robson

Heather Robson

Managing editor of Wealthy Web Writer, Heather has over ten years of content marketing and development experience.

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