All Posts by Alex Morrison

How Does Reading Help Improve Imagination?

Apart from gaining a lot of enjoyment, readers know how fulfilling it is to be transported into the imaginary world between the pages of a good work of fiction. Also, educators and brain scientists are aware of the importance of reading in the development of the brain and the imagination. In a study, neuroscientists in the US (at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia) found that reading fiction improves brain function and connectivity(1).

Reading also improves a reader’s imagination in a way that’s like ‘muscle memory’ in physical activity such as dancing and sport (when a muscle movement is practised over time, it creates a long-term muscle memory, allowing the task to be performed without conscious effort). The scientists also found that while totally focused on reading a novel, readers could forget mundane problems and let their imaginations soar. Brain networks can be reconfigured for days and this may help shape a child’s brain.

Why is Imagination So Important?

Famous physicist Albert Einstein thought imagination was more important than knowledge because someone with a good imagination had the ability to find new discoveries and to create. Scientists and educationists now know that reading can broaden the imagination by stimulating the right side of the brain, literally opening up a person’s mind to new ideas and possibilities. Reading also helps us to analyse and experience the world through the lives of others, whether they’re fictional characters or ‘real’ (some would argue that even real-life stories are fictional but it’s too deep a subject for this article).

What Other Areas Are Enhanced by Reading?

Along with the relaxation that goes hand-in-hand with getting lost in a good book, reading non-fiction works on subjects that fascinate you can bring immense tranquility, which helps the mind and the body. Tensed up muscles are relaxed and pain can be eased as a result. Successful cognitive skills are made possible by imagination and reading provides food for and improves the imagination. We all have stressors in life, from relationships, work, family, or health problems, but it can all just fade away as you delve into an engaging work of fiction. Reading also provides you with knowledge, which is something nobody can take from you. Continue reading

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What Are the Benefits of Free Writing And Its Process?

What Are the Benefits of Free Writing And Its Process?

Here is a scenario every writer is familiar with.

You want to keep working on an established project, or maybe you want to try out a new idea. You’re in your preferred writing spot, and there are no distractions. All you’ve got to do is start writing.

But you just can’t get the words down on the page.

Many people call this condition writer’s block. Others talk about feeling too burned out to come up with anything new. For some writers, the problem comes from anxiety or from becoming overwhelmed.

Whatever the source of the problem, there is an approach that can help. Let’s talk about free writing, and why many non-fiction authors use it regularly.

What Exactly Is Free Writing?

This prewriting method has been popular since the 1970s. It’s well-loved because there is no wrong way to do it.

The idea is to keep writing for a set amount of time, with no regard for quality.

The most important part of free writing is that you’re not allowed to stop. Just write down whatever comes into your head, even if it’s not connected to the rest of your text.

Of course, the resulting material can’t always be used. Many writers will end up with incoherent text that they can’t edit into shape. Your goal with this exercise isn’t to add to your project, but simply to write.

So How Is This Different from Brainstorming?

When you brainstorm, you can write down ideas in the form of bullet points. You may choose to write down a series of words that will inspire you later.

Free writing is more complex than that. Your goal is to write in full sentences and paragraphs.

These don’t have to be grammatically correct. But free writing is supposed to mimic the process of linear writing. Abandoning sentences will make it less effective.

Why Is This Useful?

Here is a handful of ways that free writing can improve the quality of your work. Continue reading

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