Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the tag “Writing”

Self-Coaching and the Medication of Writing

It’s long established in personal development, goal setting and business coaching books that writing out plans or goals helps to focus the mind and body’s resources on the achievement of that goal. Particularly when followed through with consistent, persistent and focused immediate action.

I covered the use of writing for creativity and brainstorming.

One of the things I love though is the use of writing to self-coach and self-medicate problems, issues, concerns and worries. It’s the fact that you can ‘get something off your chest’ with a piece of paper and a pen. I find now that literally as soon as I start to develop concern over something that I cannot immediately action or address (and I am very immediate-action focused), I get my notebook out and write down the issues and any potential solutions or very next actions that come to me at the time.

I then find that two things invariably happen. 1. The concern is immediately lifted. I’m a very kinaesthetic person and feel the weight or heaviness lifted from me. 2. My other-than-consciousness seems to kick into percolation/ solutions mode. Invariably, when I come to the time allocated to address the issue or concerns, it rarely seems as serious as it originally did. Equally, the solutions to address the problem are quite well-formed.

Untidy Desks, Mind Maps and Writing

I very much want to understand more about how writing things down unlocks the creative processes. What starts the flow of thoughts just by putting the pen to paper and dumping down what is inside your head?

I can simply see from a Just Seven Things perspective that one argument could be that you’re freeing space for the next related and associated items to ‘pop’ into the consciousness.

I’ve looked briefly at Buzan’s work on Mind Maps and need to do so in much more depth. He refers there to studies that he has looked at on creative flexibility and how features are mirrored during the act of mind mapping on paper. My five year old was showing me how to do them the other day as they had been taught how to do them at school for thinking about words to describe things.

I was prompted to put finger to key on this subject this evening when reading the FT I came upon the results of a study by Eric Abrahamson, professor of management at Columbia Business School and author of a new book ‘A Perfect Mess’

He apparently talks about organisation vs disorder. It was a comment about the benefits of a messy desk that made me tie this thought together. A line is quoted from his book which says “Mess puts items in context and the unexpected juxtapositions of unrelated items can cause you to make connections that you’d never make if the things were in two separate filing cabinets”

Fair enough. One question I pose to myself though is ‘how often do you ever look at the other bits of paper on the desk. Do they not just become layers of detritus that can stimulate lateral thoughts during tidy-ups or recycle sessions’ (I’m imagining here, I have to admit. I don’t have a desk.)

Similarly, when I mind map or brainstorm, looking back at what I’ve put down doesn’t consciously seem to help. It seems more the act of starting that unblocks a rapid flow. I know I need to look at this more as I’m sure that there’s a lot untapped. However I find it interesting that when the thoughts are down they’re very powerful but seem more to have their own life than conscious relationships with others?

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