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One way to free your subconscious writing mind

I had a writing date with a friend today who is a poet and playwright. As we set up our computers and writing space at the local coffee shop, she shared with me that she sometimes plays mahjong on her computer while working out a problem.

I said, “Huh?” I couldn’t imagine have a game open on my computer while trying to write. But she explained that when she has a problem she needs to work out in her mind, the clicking sounds of the mahjong tiles soothe her. I guess they create a kind of white noise.

So I tried it tonight. I download a free majhong game from and played it while thinking about the next scene in my book. What I discovered, besides the fact that mahjong is totally addicting, is that it did free me up to think about my plot. It felt as if I was keeping my conscious mind busy so my subconscious could get to work.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back from our writing to see where we want to go next. I often take breaks when I need to think about something—I wash the dishes, brush the cats, go for a walk, or even do some gardening.

Now, I’ve found another way to take a short mental break without leaving my chair.

What tricks do you use to access your subconscious writing mind?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I find a shower works really well, but there’s only so many times you can use that option in a day.

    I sometimes use mahjong or freecell. Hanging out the laundry can help too.

    In my experience these things only work when you’ve actually been writing (or at least attempting to write) beforehand. You can’t use them at the beginning of the day otherwise they just feed into procrastination.

    March 27, 2013
    • I agree, Jessica…if I started with Mahjong I’d never get to my writing. I usually start my writing session with a few short timed writes to get my juices going.

      March 27, 2013

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