Truth be told, some writers are DUMB!
Okay, not on a personal level, but we write dumb articles sometimes. Not that it’s our fault, but sometimes, we don’t do what it takes to produce quality.
So, let’s play a little game, shall we?
You’re in a square room, with four doors on every wall…
When you open the door in front of you (door 1), you see nothing but blazing fire…
When you open the door by your right (door2), your eyes glare at pitch black darkness.
When you open door 3 and try to go out, you step into a forest full of trees with fragile branches.
On launching toward door 4 which is behind you, you bump your head on a brick wall and out of frustration, you slam the door shut.
Now, for some reason, you know you can get out of there, but the question is how?
You really want to get out…
You really want to break writer’s block and show that client what you’re really made of…
You just want to get this article over with and move on to the next one….
But the ideas are not just pouring out as they should. Yes, you’re writing the article, but the paragraphs are not just fitting in together.
So you decide to take a break and on your return, nothing still happens.
Has this happened to you before? Well it has happened to me…several times. And the reason is clear…
Your Brain Needs Some Juice!
But not just any kind of juice- it needs juice that challenges its thought pattern. Creating content for the internet is more than just putting words together to make up an article with a particular number of words. In fact, with the growing number of freelance writers now and the need for quality content, writing ordinary articles should no longer be part of your game. You need to start creating intelligent content.
What’s Intelligent Content?
Intelligent content isn’t just an information based article. It is content that helps the client achieve a specific purpose which could be to sell a particular product, to make readers sign up to a newsletter, to enhance blog comments, or to cause social media shares. And to write such content, there are specific things you need to know. But first let’s look at the riddle above.
To solve the riddle, you need imagination, you need a strategy and you need to think in parts (in frameworks). This is exactly what writing intelligent content is all about. But to write using these three elements, you need to develop what scientists call your “Working Memory.”
In a 2008 study, Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehi of the University of Maryland carried out research on a fundamental cognitive ability called “fluid intelligence” which is related to working memory. They further explained that,
“Working memory is more than just the ability to remember just a telephone number long enough to dial it; it’s the capacity to manipulate the information you’re holding in your head- to add or subtract those numbers, place them in reverse order or sort them from high to low. Understanding a metaphor or an analogy is equally dependent on working memory; you can’t follow even a simple statement like “See Jane run” if you can’t put together how “see” and “Jane” connect with “run”. Without it, you can’t make sense of anything.”
And as a writer, you’ve no choice but to make sense.
So, how do you develop your working memory?
You do this by challenging your brain to break out of its comfort zone. Below is a list of different games and activities you can engage yourself in that would definitely develop your working memory. Some are weird, and some have more effect on your intellect than others, so apply with discretion.
1. Challenge a friend to a game of chess.
2. Play chess on and with your PC every day.
3. Play a game of Sudoku 30 minutes daily.
4. Get a team of four and have a nice game of Scrabble.
5. Play Jigsaw puzzle with your kid (or with someone younger).
6. Memorize your grocery list before going to the store.
7. If you’re right handed, use your left hand to do important tasks such as eating, using your iPod, brushing your teeth or using your PC. If you’re left handed, use your opposite hand for these tasks.
8. Get dressed with your eyes closed.
9. Listen to music while walking in the garden and consciously smell the flowers.
10. Watch the movement of the clouds while listening for cricket sounds.
11. Break habits by driving a different route to work.
12. If you’re used to shopping at a particular grocery store, make a change.
13. Take a trip to anywhere of your choice.
14. Plait your doll’s hair with your eyes closed.
15. Run around your house naked, (as long as you don’t stay in a glass house). I stay in a house full of people, so I can’t do this. But it’s a work in progress :-).
16. Learn a musical instrument.
17. Attempt to solve a Rubik’s cube.
18. Play an action game.
19. Play a speed racing game like Need for Speed to work on your reflexes.
20. Close your eyes and identify objects by feeling them.
21. Play a word puzzle. Ask a friend to give you a random selection of letters while you form complete words from these combinations.
22. Pray for someone you hate.
23. If you wear your wrist watch on your left hand, wear it on your right hand for one day. Then change it back the next day.
24. Try to identify the colour of every car that passes you on your way to work, school or the store.
25. Learn to ride a bicycle if you don’t already know how to.
26. Joggle balls of different colours like a circus clown.
27. Write a poem (especially if you’ve never written it before). I’ve discovered that poetry involves thinking outside the box. I only started writing poems some months ago and I love it!
28. Play a game of dodge ball (with soft balls of course).
29. If you don’t cook, get to the kitchen and make something sumptuous….yum!!
30. Memorize one phone number on your contact list per day.
31. Draw the World map by tracing it and after 24 hours, draw it without tracing.
32. Identify one country on the map everyday and after 24 hours, try to remember what you memorized.
33. Learn to change a car tyre.
34. Learn the lyrics of a new song (rap would be best).
35. Memorize your QWERTY keyboard completely so you can type without looking at the keyboard (as a writer, this is an asset). I’m good with the letters, but the numbers…..O my gosh.
36. Try to remember the first names of everyone you meet today.
37. Imagine your future.
38. Learn how to knot a neck tie.
39. Take note of something good that your spouse, sibling or friend did that you’ve never noticed before.
40. Write a ton of articles daily, even if they make no sense.
Beware, after applying the above strategies, you are liable to get smarter; user discretion is advised ;-).
Take note that while you carry out the activities or play the games I stated above, reduce the amount of time you watch television or movies. According to the study stated above, too much television sends the brain into a neutral state and is void of thinking.
Now that we know different ways to develop our working memory and cause the brain to grow, let’s solve the riddle, shall we?
The answer is pretty simple. Remember I said that in door 3, you have a forest full of trees with fragile branches? Well, that means you can easily break them with your hands. So first, break off bunches of big branches from the trees. Next, open door 1 and set the tip of one of those branches on fire. Finally, open up door 2 and get out, with the torch in one hand and the other branches in the other hand, just in case the tunnel of darkness is hideously long. You have no business with door 4- it’s just a decoy.
My younger brother and I used to play such riddles and you too can think up survival riddles just like the one above- they’ll definitely help you think out of the box.
Out of the 40 games and activities above, which ones would you carry out? I’d also love to know other games you think would help develop the brain.
Lanre Solarin is a Writers In Charge team member and he creates content for bloggers and entrepreneurs. Do you need intelligent content that brings results? Hire Lanre to think out of the box through writing.