Thursday, September 06, 2007

Is multi-tasking killing your brain cells?

According to author & editor Karen Ball (who cites learning of this from various neurological studies) multitasking just might be hindering you in your writing endeavors. She recently talked on her Amazon blog about how she's learned to slow down and be more productive in the process.

Says Karen: "So how does all of this relate to writing? Well, in my mad drive to multitask, I've lost the true focus of writing. I jump from chapter to chapter, then realize I need to research something and jump from the page to the internet. Of course, when I come back to the page, I have to fight to remember what the character was doing or saying...and suddenly the excitement and drive for that scene dwindles. And if I'm not excited about it, the readers certainly won't be.

All of which is to say simply this: it's time to slow down. For me, anyway. Maybe for you, too. It's time to take a break from the mad scramble of life and just let myself sink into the moment. I'd forgotten how that felt until just recently, when I purposed to give it a try again. And you know what? It was great! I sat at the computer, fingers at the ready, FOCUSED on the page before me. And the scene that came was full of life and passion and realization. At first it was a battle to keep myself focused, but soon the character and scene so captivated me that I actually had to tear myself away."

Read Karen's full post here at her Amazon blog and tell me what you think. I could relate to this phenomenon probably too much! It's helpful for someone to spell it out. Recognizing a problem is half the battle, right? Implementing the solution is the other half, and I'm trying to do that in my writing life.


Gina Conroy said...

I do the same thing until I read a post by Randy Ingermanson who gave me permission to write bad. So I neglected all the internet research and just wrote! I finished my WIP and now I'm going back to finish the research. I'm not sure it's the best way to do things, since I may have some problems with police procedure, but nothing that can't be fixed!

C.J. Darlington said...

Just writing is so important, isn't it? Because in the time you use up researching a minor point, you've used up a lot of your creativity. Plus, you might not really know what you need to research until you finish the story.

Nicole said...

Well . . . I am so single-minded, tunnel vision-ed, locked on to what I'm doing at any one time, I thought I was handicapped for multi-tasking. It's not like I can't do more than one thing at once--it's usually that I don't, unless of course I'm housecleaning which I don't want to do, so I meander from one thing to the next while still in the middle of it all.

I'm easily distracted so when I'm writing, there is no music, no nothing--except when the guys are watching a movie. Then I need earphones.

However, I can testify I don't see that I've saved too many brain cells over others who've multi-tasked.

Julie Carobini said...

Hey CJ, You're nice--stop by my site and collect your award :) (If you're not already multi-tasking enough...)