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Neuroscience and the Writing Process

Posted by: herb | Filed Under Content Marketing | 1 comment 
Oct 10

It’s often said that writing is an art, not a science but from what I’ve learned in the past month, I
may have to dispute that saying. Okay, I’ll confess. I am not a science-oriented person. From an
early age, I was fascinated by the arts and literature and imagined penning a novel one day. So
it’s surprising that I find myself working on an exciting campaign about cognitive neuroscience—
the intersection of psychology and the study of the brain.

Immersing myself in neuroscience these past few weeks has helped me understand how my
brain works and ways I can maximize my productivity and performance. For example, when
working on a complex writing project, sometimes my brain gets overloaded with information
and I can’t think as clearly. I’ve learned that this is what happens when I try to tackle a problem
that is too big for my conscious mind to solve. However, if I walk away, distract myself, and then
return to the writing project, I don’t feel as overwhelmed.

Similarly, after I write something, I leave a decent amount of time before editing the document.
That’s because stepping away from a problem (or writing project) and then coming back to it
gives you a fresh perspective. (Neuroleadership expert Dr. David Rock covers this phenomenon
in a Harvard Business Review blog post titled Three Ways to Think Deeply at Work.) I find good
distractor tasks such as exercising, talking a walk, or even reading something unrelated to what I
am writing about often spur my thinking.

So, how does this relate to the campaign I’ve been working on? Big Fish Media has partnered
with Dr. Rock and his firm, the NeuroLeadership Institute, to promote the NeuroLeadership
Summit, a two-day conference being held in New York City from October 15-17. Specifically,
we are reaching out to local and national media and working with conference speakers—
neuroscientists and leadership experts—to highlight their work in blog posts.

The conference covers topic such as the new skills leaders need to manage global teams; does
practicing radical transparency drive business results; and the neuroscience behind leadership
transitions—just to name a few. (Here’s the complete program.)

What is particularly interesting about this conference are its overarching principles that I believe
apply to any industry or discipline. Because the focus is on the brain, the organizers have made
the conference as “brain friendly” as possible. Here’s what they mean:

• Ideas are like food—allow time to digest.
• Social is everything—let people connect.
• Do less but do it really well.
• Work with, not against, the natural flow of energy as we have limits that need to be

If more conferences were designed like this, PR professionals would be out of jobs because we
wouldn’t have to convince people to attend.

We encourage you to contact Herb Schaffner, the founder of Big Fish Media, if you’d like to
learn about the Summit or if you’d like to interview Dr. Rock. And if you can’t make it to the
Summit, consider live streaming the event for free.

Sarita Venkat focuses on communications and online media for Big Fish Media.

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One Response to Neuroscience and the Writing Process

  1. I’m sharing this as part of the pre-work for an offsite I’m holding for writers, instructional designers and others who help us capture what Ferrazzi Greenlight and its Research Institute does. You’ve excited my neocortex and quieted my reptilian brain both at the same time!

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