Brain Rules


As a total craft junkie, I tip my hat to Austin Kleon for summarising some of the key aspects of ‘Brain Rules’ by John Medina.

1. EXERCISE boosts brain power.

Moving around gets more blood and oxygen pumping to the brain, which gives you more ideas. (See Haruki Murakami’s essay on writing and running in the New Yorker.)

4. We don’t pay ATTENTION to boring things.

Elmore Leonard says, “Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.” Kurt Vonnegut called it “being a good date.”

7. SLEEP well, think well.

Get plenty of shut eye, and figure out when you’re most creative: it’s probably either early in the morning or late at night. NO ONE is creative during the mid-afternoon, and that’s why some of the greatest thinkers of all time were notorious for 3PM naps. (Salvador Dali napped with a spoon.) Hit a snag? Sleep on it: our brain is constantly working things out in our sleep. Keep a dream journal.

9. Stimulate more of THE SENSES.

Pictures and words belong together. Write by hand with a pen or paintbrush. Cut words out of magazines. Use a Sharpie and a newspaper….

10. VISION trumps all the other senses.

Words are seen, and stories are images.

12. We are powerful and natural EXPLORERS.

Even at an old age, our brain is still malleable. We can still learn new things and improve. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.


On the other hand, stories like this one keep me going:

‘When I went to lunch today, I noticed an old lady sitting on a park bench sobbing her eyes out. I stopped and asked her what was wrong. She said, “I have a 22 year old husband at home. He makes love to me every morning and then gets up and makes me pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit and freshly ground coffee.”

I said, “Well, then why are you crying?”

She said, “He makes me homemade soup for lunch and my favorite brownies and then makes love to me for half the afternoon”.

I said, “Well, why are you crying?”

She said, “For dinner he makes me a gourmet meal with wine and my favorite dessert and then makes love to me until 2:00 a.m.

I said, “Well, why in the world would you be crying?”

She said, “I can’t remember where I live!”.

Happy writing.