Old Dog, New Tricks

Synaptogenesis…ever heard of it? I hadn’t either until recently. While listening to a podcast on my MP3 player while out walking Vivvy, I discovered that synaptogenesis is the formation of new synapses in the brain. These are connecting points that link brain cells, approximately 100 billion of them, and it’s how our brain cells communicate with each other.

Deteriorating synapses are linked to a number of neurodegenerative diseases, but research shows that there are ways to regenerate and increase our synapses. According to the podcast, one of the ways is to change up the way we carry out routine tasks. Fascinated, I tried it out on the walk by stepping over stiles with my right foot instead of the left which I normally do, walking a different direction around a group of trees, and going anti-clockwise around the lake instead of clockwise. To be honest, I hadn’t realised what a creature of habit I’d become 🙂

Well, it got me thinking about other areas of my life, especially writing. I’ve always been a writer who needs a solid block of time during which I know I won’t be disturbed in order to write anything like meaningful prose (!). But in the spirit of trying something new, I decided to give writing sprints and timed writing a go. Many writers have success with this kind of writing, but I never thought it would work for me.

Since I wanted to do it properly, I downloaded the Pomodoro app to my phone I set it for twenty-five minutes of writing, followed by a five-minute break time during which you get up and move away from the screen and do something unrelated to writing.

Well, it’s been a revelation! Not only does it seem to work for me, but my word count has soared. Okay, I know this is great for a first draft, and there’ll be some things to fix in the second draft, but hey, words on the screen are always welcome, thank you very much! As they say, you can’t fix a blank page.

So, I’m going to continue with this new way of writing and along the way fire up some new connections in my brain 🙂 It’s a win/win!

4 responses to “Old Dog, New Tricks

  1. That is cool that changing your routine can help your synapses. VERY important as we grow older. 🙂 And I love sprints. I get a lot done that way. Good for you! (And waving hello to Miss Vivvy!)

  2. Ummm I need to work on synapses. I’ve been sprinting for awhile now and it works for me. I use it for tasks I don’t want to do like house cleaning. Setting a timer for half an hour doesn’t seem as daunting at taking on the whole task and it’s amazing what you can do with a dedicated half hour.

  3. I love new words. I like this one a lot! AND way to go on the word count. Anything that gets that going is awesome. I’ve been crazy busy at the day job and need to find some motivation to write for fun. Glad your synapses are rocking and rolling. Jillian

  4. Wow. Never heard of this until you mentioned it. I’m very much a creature of habit and end up getting stuck. I will certainly give this a try, if nothing else to get me back in to the writing mood again. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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