Finding Your Writing Flow: Notebooks, Muses, and the Myth of Multi-Tasking
By Michele Lemieux-Madison
The best piece of writing advice I’ve ever read – although I’m now reading Joni B. Cole’s Good Naked, so that may change – came from The Writer Magazine in their November-December 2016 edition, titled Finding your Flow.
From this article, I learned to carry a notebook with me wherever I go, which makes perfect sense; you never know when an idea will pop into your head. I have my iPad most of the time, but by the time I power it up and open the app to write it down, my idea had left my brain.
I also learned to let go and give myself the right to daydream and devote time to other creative ventures. I always want to be “doing” something. Letting your mind wander helps ideas flow better. I also identified the need to spend time learning the violin and djembe that I bought a while back to get my creative juices going. It’s my way of finding my flow and enhancing my craft.
Most important of all, I discovered that no matter how much we think we can do everything all at once, multi-tasking is a myth. The best example I can give is the first powerful Windows machine touting true multitasking capabilities. It seemed to work simultaneously on multiple tasks, but when you really looked at how it was running, you could see the little cell going from one task to another. That is the way our brain works. One task at a time; one thought at a time.
We seem to be thinking about a thousand different things at once, but we waste way more time going from one thought to another than just concentrating on what we are doing at hand. With my editing job, I noticed that I am much more productive on a day where I have one or two large projects versus days I have a bunch of little projects that take 5 or 10 minutes each. At the end of the day, I have racked more billable hours with a larger project than even 20 smaller projects.
Now, whenever I find my mind straying from the task at hand, if it’s something I can use in a story or another project, I quickly write it down in my notebook, so it does not go out to the big cloud of my brain, never to be thought again. I then go back and focus on my task at hand. Then, when it’s time to start writing a new story or a new project, I at least have a prompt from which to start.
Michele Lemieux-Madison is a French editor and writer. Her main website is michelelemieux.com. She is also working on a holistic health and nutrition blog, which will be published on her other website bywatersedge.com in a month’s time, once she is healed from her concussion and worked on a collection of journal entries.