jazz

Photo by Alvaro Arriagado

When John Hopkins’ researchers examined jazz pianists’ brains while they improvised, they found something surprising. The jazz musicians were able to turn off the part of their brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which scientists believe powers self-control and keeps us from doing things that would appear strange or dangerous. The musicians also activated the medial prefrontal cortex, which is associated with individuality.

As Jonah Lehrer says, jazz pianists are able to “inhibit their inhibitions” and “channel their artistic identity.”

And when you write, so can you.

Just Write

We need these reminders periodically. The writing life is a constant pendulum swing between freeflowing creativity and cold headed editing. You have to have both, you have to swing the pendulum, but sometimes you can get stuck in the middle, the grey area of semi-creativity.

Sometimes you just need to swing harder. Sometimes you just need to write, without worrying about what your readers will think. Sometimes you just need to let yourself lose focus, to let the words whisper their poetry into your ear. Sometimes you need to breathe in the room and breathe out through your fingers, letting them find the keys on their own. It’s a dance. It’s a dance.

We need these reminders: just write.

Or at least I do.

PRACTICE

So today just write. Just dance. Just let your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, whatever it is, turn off. Write uninhibited for fifteen minutes (at least). Write as much as you can about whatever your fingers want. When you’re finished, post your freeflowing practice in the comments section.

And don’t worry, we won’t judge you if it’s unintelligible, full of errors, or even if it’s the rantings of a crazy person. Today, it’s not about perfection. It’s about play.

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let’s Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).