Look, when I first started telling people that I intended to write erotic conspiracy science fiction in order to crack the spine of the Establishment, most, if not all, of my colleagues, friends, and family were quick to say: Yes. Please. Thank you. This is what the market wants. The market is wet for erotic conspiracy science fiction stories intended to crack the spine of the Establishment, especially if they expose the symbolic underpinnings of capitalist dogma as absurd and flaccid. Dripping wet.
Enthused, off I went. But as any serious writer of Erotoconspifi will tell you, when the public is horny for truth engorged with mystic, dildo wielding robots, sales are the easy part. No, as always in the case of any art, it is the sitting down and doing the damn thing that causes the anus of creativity to pucker. It can be incredibly frustrating to know that the bottleneck between the story and the reader is you. The story is in the air, circulating about 13,000 feet above your head in the noosphere. It exists whole and complete and beautiful and you, you who it has chosen, are denying it’s birth by checking to see if anyone has liked your Facebook posts. No one has. Everyone is waiting for you to access the noosphere. Everyone is wondering why your anus is so tight.
I was once like you. Then I discovered these 5 ways to hack my neurology to become a better Erotoconspifi writer.
The goal is to create a funnel from the noosphere directly into your typing fingers. You want to bypass your brain entirely. You don’t write because there is too much to write. It’s like shoveling snow during a blizzard. You need to relax. You need to relax in one of these:
A Samadhi Float tank. It is a light proof, sound proof chamber filled with 10 inches of body temperature water and 1000 pounds of epsom salts. Between the hours of 2am and 7am, this is where you will find me. Floating. Shut off from the world. My body in a state of near weightlessness, my mind free from all sensory input. I do not sleep. I do not dream. I float in the womb of my unconscious mind, exploring the umbilicus to the noosphere.
2. Remove distraction.
There are obvious problems that develop when your writing tool is the same machine that you use to look at and share pictures ofrainbow sprinkle covered breasts. I’m not going to advocate shooting your modem with a 12 gauge, hardware is pre-sentient and that would be cruel. What you can do is enforce positive habits during writing time.
Command-T is an almost neurotic tick that kicks in upon the slightest instance of brainlag. I use the Chrome extension Momentum in order to minimize internet dawdling. Instead of a new tab showing a list of most visited sites, Momentum will present you with an HD photo of gorgeous nature, the time and your goal for the day. It’s the browsing equivalent of plunging your head in a bucket of ice-water.
Years ago, when my mind was the property of corporate entities, I became convinced that multitasking was a real thing. Multitasking is an invention of bosses who want fewer employees to do more tasks for less money. It ruins the innate human ability to focus, and focus is presence. If you want a reader to be singularly invested in your words, you must infuse them with your own single minded concentration.
To cure scatterbrain, I use two methods. The first is Pomodoro. The name comes from this little guy:
The tomato kitchen timer. Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, the technique uses a timer to break work up into 25 minute segments. After each period of intense and focused work, I take a 5 minute break. After four cycles, I take a 10 minute break. You can do anything on the breaks, however I suggest stepping away from the computer for push-ups, whiskey, or sex (maybe wait for the 10 minute break). It is suggested to use a physical, mechanical timer as winding the thing becomes part of the ritual, but there are software applications such as the tomato timer, which I’m using right now.
4. Binaural Beats.
I considered merging this one with focus, but it is so essential to my writing that it deserves it’s own category. Binaural beats occur when slightly different tone frequencies are played into each ear through headphones causing “apparent sounds”. The result is a sonic pulsation generated in the brain, essentially (in theory) bringing brainwave activity into lock step with the frequency of the beats.
I’m no expert in brainwaves, but I’ll give this a shot. Neuron activity oscillates at different frequencies that determine one’s state of consciousness. Normal waking activity is between 13-39 Hz, the Beta Wave range. Deep meditation is between 4 and 7 Hz (Theta). Dreamless sleep is below 4Hz (Delta). The idea behind listening to binaural beats while writing is to control the state of my brain like the transmission of a Porsche. If I want to work quickly, the ideas are flowing easily and I know what I’m doing, all that is between me and the story is the busy work of actually typing, I’ll tune to Beta. If I’m problem solving, working on structure or character arcs, I’ll go higher, more intensity – 40Hz or above into the Gamma zone. Most of the time, I like to be around 11Hz. Alpha waves, the realm of dreams and painterly imagination.
I use Gnaural most of the time. It’s a free, Java based application that can be a bit of a bitch to use, but it is extremely customizable.
Oh no, you caught me, I like to use substances in order to access higher realms of creativity. I’m so original.
Caffeine. I’ve never been a “I am not a human being until I’ve had my coffee” person. I seem to lack the ability to tell between good or bad coffee. I use it, like the rest of the items in this list, as a tool. Caffeine, whether derived from tea or coffee, makes my neurons fire more quickly.
Booze. Scotch preferably with a side of beer. I honestly don’t know how people write after the sun goes down without alcohol. I don’t know why you would even choose to write if you don’t enjoy drinking. It makes the whole thing sexier. It lowers inhibitions. In the same way you’re going to want a drink in hand before you go up to a girl at a party, if you are really planning on seducing your story, letting it know that it is safe in your capable hands, you’re gonna want some brain lube. There is a reason plenty of the best writers are Irish.
Cannabis. Some people can write stoned. I can not. Pot makes me too nitpicky to write well. I’ll spend an hour on a sentence and forget what the purpose of the sentence was. No, for me cannabis is for after the writing is done. Before climbing into my flotation tank for the night, I’ll vaporize about a gram or so and see the story in delicious technicolor. Problems I’d been avoiding thinking about will be instantly solved. Weakness will be exposed – the occasions where I am coming between the story and the reader will be pulled into sharp focus. With solutions gained and faults scrutinized, I’ll fall into a deep state of relaxation, ready to enter the flow of the next day.