How to Avoid Cognitive Overload: Even with Spring Fever! by Ann Woodford
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Ann Woodford as she shares with us: “How to Avoid Cognitive Overload: Even with Spring Fever!” Enjoy!
April showers bring May flowers.
In the northeast anyway.
They also bring distraction. Sometimes we call it spring fever.
April showers keep us inside. Focusing on our writing keeps us from moaning about the constant drizzle outside our windows.
As the month wanes, and those flowers start blooming, it gets harder and harder to focus on your story and ignore the beauty unfolding right outside your window.
What’s a writer to do?!
I have some great thoughts about that, courtesy of the Farnam Street blog’s Sunday newsletter, Brain Food.
The article, The History of Cognitive Overload, is based on a book by Daniel Levitin, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.
I found myself fascinated by the concept of cognitive overload and how it affects our ability to stay focused on the things that really matter to us.
I learned a few amazing facts.
- The human brain can only process about 120 bits per second.
- We require 60 bits per second to carry on a conversation.
- Thinking leaves us tired because it uses oxygen and glucose in our brains.
- Lack of productivity and loss of drive can result from overload,
Of course, Shane Parrish’s thoughts are generalized, not focused on the unique challenges writers face nearly every time they sit down to write.
Emails, well-meaning family members, phone calls, and worst of all, the dreaded twins — click-bait and social media.
I did, however, glean an important behavioral change after reading the admittedly long article.
I must prioritize my writing if I want to get it done.
Tips to Help You Focus
Fortunately, here at Writer’s Fun Zone, we have some amazing authors who have offered their own ideas on how to deepen your focus on your craft this month.
If you haven’t read these, I encourage you to check them out.
- LA Bourgeois discusses using copy-work to strengthen your craft and deepen your connection to your work in her article Your Masters’ Words: Using Copywork to Strengthen Your Craft.
- Kelley Way taught us how to legally use a trademark in our books in her article, Can I Use a Trademark in my Book?. Her advice will free up some brain space so you can focus on other, possibly more important, things.
- Catharine Bramkamp offered her thoughts on how to deliver your message through your writing without beating your reader over the head with it. Check out her thoughts in her article, The Best Way to Deliver Your Message.
- And our regular columnist, Thao Nguyen, offered thoughts on the importance of selecting the best book cover you can for your book in her article, Why a Good Book Cover is Crucial to Your Publishing Success.
- Finally, in Art Imitates Life, I offered some thoughts on how our hobbies and experiences affect what we write, though not too closely. Thank Goodness!
Overall, April was a great month. Here in the Capital District of NY we got not too much rain, though it was cooler than average.
What was April like for you?
What distractions were you facing and how did you deal with them?
Hit reply and let us know in the comments.
About the Author
Ann writes both fiction and nonfiction, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference! She just finished her Master’s degree and is both looking for her next job and working diligently towards releasing her next novel. She also works as a program facilitator for the Barany School of Fiction and assistant editor at Writer’s Fun Zone.