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Fire Up Your Writing Brain: How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer

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Ignite Your Writing Brain! Whether you're an experienced writer or just starting out, an endless number of pitfalls can trip up your efforts, from procrastination and writer's block to thin characters and uninspired plots. Luckily, you have access to an extraordinary writing tool that can help overcome all of these problems: your brain. "Fire Up Your Writing Brain" teaches y Ignite Your Writing Brain! Whether you're an experienced writer or just starting out, an endless number of pitfalls can trip up your efforts, from procrastination and writer's block to thin characters and uninspired plots. Luckily, you have access to an extraordinary writing tool that can help overcome all of these problems: your brain. "Fire Up Your Writing Brain" teaches you how to develop your brain to its fullest potential. Based on proven, easy-to-understand neuroscience, this book details ways to stimulate, nurture, and hone your brain into the ultimate writing tool. Inside, you'll learn how to: Identify the type of writer you are: Do you think or feel your way through writing a book? Are you a pantser or a plotter?Develop writing models that accelerate your learning curve.Hardwire your brain for endurance and increased productivity.Brainstorm better character concepts and plot points.Learn to edit your manuscript on both a macro and micro level.Recharge a lagging brain to gain an extra burst of creativity.Filled with accessible instruction, practical techniques, and thought-provoking exercises, "Fire Up Your Writing Brain" shows you how to become a more productive, creative, and successful writer--a veritable writing genius! "An excellent resource--the way that neuroscience and the art of writing are jointly explored allows for a new, unique, and practical integration of the two." --Teresa Aubele-Futch, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame and co-author of "Train Your Brain to Get Happy" and "Train Your Brain to Get Rich" "Full of neuroscience facts and tips, this inspiring book will change your brain--and your writing life. I learned techniques that I'll apply to my students and my own writing." --Linda Joy Myers, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers and award-winning author of "Don't Call Me Mother: A Daughter's Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness"


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Ignite Your Writing Brain! Whether you're an experienced writer or just starting out, an endless number of pitfalls can trip up your efforts, from procrastination and writer's block to thin characters and uninspired plots. Luckily, you have access to an extraordinary writing tool that can help overcome all of these problems: your brain. "Fire Up Your Writing Brain" teaches y Ignite Your Writing Brain! Whether you're an experienced writer or just starting out, an endless number of pitfalls can trip up your efforts, from procrastination and writer's block to thin characters and uninspired plots. Luckily, you have access to an extraordinary writing tool that can help overcome all of these problems: your brain. "Fire Up Your Writing Brain" teaches you how to develop your brain to its fullest potential. Based on proven, easy-to-understand neuroscience, this book details ways to stimulate, nurture, and hone your brain into the ultimate writing tool. Inside, you'll learn how to: Identify the type of writer you are: Do you think or feel your way through writing a book? Are you a pantser or a plotter?Develop writing models that accelerate your learning curve.Hardwire your brain for endurance and increased productivity.Brainstorm better character concepts and plot points.Learn to edit your manuscript on both a macro and micro level.Recharge a lagging brain to gain an extra burst of creativity.Filled with accessible instruction, practical techniques, and thought-provoking exercises, "Fire Up Your Writing Brain" shows you how to become a more productive, creative, and successful writer--a veritable writing genius! "An excellent resource--the way that neuroscience and the art of writing are jointly explored allows for a new, unique, and practical integration of the two." --Teresa Aubele-Futch, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame and co-author of "Train Your Brain to Get Happy" and "Train Your Brain to Get Rich" "Full of neuroscience facts and tips, this inspiring book will change your brain--and your writing life. I learned techniques that I'll apply to my students and my own writing." --Linda Joy Myers, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers and award-winning author of "Don't Call Me Mother: A Daughter's Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness"

30 review for Fire Up Your Writing Brain: How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    In this book, Susan Reynolds talks about how the brain functions and how to best work with it to increase your focus, stimulate your creativity, and react to writing as a positive experience. This is a similar approach to Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron. But my recollection is that Cron's book focused more on writing instruction, adding relevant information on brain science where appropriate. Reynolds' book is m In this book, Susan Reynolds talks about how the brain functions and how to best work with it to increase your focus, stimulate your creativity, and react to writing as a positive experience. This is a similar approach to Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron. But my recollection is that Cron's book focused more on writing instruction, adding relevant information on brain science where appropriate. Reynolds' book is more about the neuroscience, applying it to the act of writing. Although she mostly discusses fiction writing (novels), she also mentions other forms of writing such as journalism, screenwriting, and poetry. Indeed, I suspect that much of what Reynolds talks about could be applied to other creative pursuits, such as drawing. The weakest part of this book is the writing instruction, the actual how-to-write-a-novel parts. They're fairly generic and don't really go into much detail. However, this is what just about every other writing reference book out there covers. Read this book if the idea of applying neuroscience to writing and creativity appeals to you, because that's where it shines, but it probably won't work as your only guide to writing a novel.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Claire Handscombe

    This was full of useful tips, but to be honest - I'd heard almost all of them before. They were reframed in a scientiifc context and people of a more scientific bent will probably find that more interesting/useful than I did. That said, if you're just starting out on your writing journey, or you've never really read any books to help with it, this will be a great starting point.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angela Knight

    Thought provoking and helpful This book takes the recent findings of neuroscience and applies them to fiction writing. I know from personal experience that many of the tips--such as the benefits of exercise before writing-- are highly effective. I plan to try others, such as meditation. I think you'll find it a great addition to your library.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Lentes

    Advice for writers based on brain research. Particularly helpful to novelists or anyone writing long form. Also of interest to those trying to understand the benefits of writing on a regular schedule.

  5. 5 out of 5

    alyssa

    This was good but I also read it to procrastinate actually writing which is bad so it’s a tossup

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Faithfull

    A strange mashup of pseudo-science and meta-categorizing brain function to "figure out" what "kind" of writer you are. It takes a simple concept - I want to write - and blows it into overintellectualized chaos. I would not recommend this book to other writers regardless of their ability. And i think the "neuroscience" claims and the way the author is applying it, are bogus. Don't spend the money.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Louden

    Seriously uneven book - moments of great usefulness followed by sections that made me do the RCA Victor dog - huh?? Either because the author made sweeping generalizations, odd ball suggestions, or rehashed info that didn't need to be rehashed. More of a survey than an in-depth way to practice using your brain to write more effectively or joyfully but still, will refer to it when teaching and writing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Most of the advice and claims seemed to be plucked from health columns found in women's magazines. Sprint around my block to help me write my story's ending? No. I don't care if some Stanford scientist says it gives me a dopamine high. It's just a ludicrous thing to do. I wonder if Shakespeare practiced ancient Indian meditation and yoga to help him write? Oh wait...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ali Balchunas

    It was cool reading about the science behind how our brain works, and how we all have the power to guide our own brains into making us more productive and successful. I'd recommend this to anyone (like me) who needs a push to motivate them to do what they love.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charla

    The best book on the process of writing I have ever read. The end.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    I was disappointed in this book, not because it's badly written, but because it's not at all what I thought the book was about. I love brain science, and it does include a bit, especially at the beginning. But really, this book is about writing a novel. If you are looking for motivation and tips/techniques for creating plots, stories, dialogue, and all that goes into creative FICTION, this isn't a bad book at all. But if you're looking for more general writing, this book is about 70% useless. Ev I was disappointed in this book, not because it's badly written, but because it's not at all what I thought the book was about. I love brain science, and it does include a bit, especially at the beginning. But really, this book is about writing a novel. If you are looking for motivation and tips/techniques for creating plots, stories, dialogue, and all that goes into creative FICTION, this isn't a bad book at all. But if you're looking for more general writing, this book is about 70% useless. Every now and then the words "and nonfiction writing" would be thrown in, but the actual *content* doesn't really cover that. Also, about 35% of the book seems like things a writer would already know/do; for example, there are suggestions, like "join a writer's group or club" for developing your skills. Well, yeah. A lot of it was kind of basic, and I guess I felt like I'd moved past some of that already in my writing journey, but maybe for others, that really is helpful? I didn't hate it, but I don't know that I benefitted from it that much either. I noted some helpful things down, and time will tell if they make a big difference to my actual writing process. As far as format, I really enjoyed all the quotes from real writers on their craft, and I liked the idea of each chapter ending with some creative projects to try (even if I don't write much fiction).

  12. 5 out of 5

    T.L. Cooper

    I became intrigued by Fire Up Your Writing Brain: How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer because I like things based in science, based on scientific research. That said, there were a few times when I wished the scientific research was a tiny bit more front and center in the discussion. When I started it, I thought it would be a fairly quick read even with the exercises... I thought wrong. Instead, I spent several months reading Fire Up Your Wr I became intrigued by Fire Up Your Writing Brain: How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer because I like things based in science, based on scientific research. That said, there were a few times when I wished the scientific research was a tiny bit more front and center in the discussion. When I started it, I thought it would be a fairly quick read even with the exercises... I thought wrong. Instead, I spent several months reading Fire Up Your Writing Brain and working through the exercises. I even did some of the extra credit options though not all. I saved some exercises for later when they fit my projects at hand. Fire Up Your Writing Brain made me look deeper into my writing process as well as more aware of where my attention goes throughout the day including what interferes with my writing process. While I sometimes became frustrated with some of the exercises working through them always brought me to either an epiphany or a new piece of work. Fire Up Your Writing Brain offers a great way to jump start a stalled writing process or even heighten one that isn't stalled. I will keep Fire Up Your Writing Brain on my shelves for reference and will likely return to the exercises when I feel the need to fire up my writing brain.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carly Severino

    This is a great inspirational read for those who struggle with writing and wish to change their past associations with writing from those of dread to excitement. I enjoyed the emphasis of rewarding oneself for their hard work to create positive neuronal pathways between the act of writing and pleasure. I also thought the idea of changing routines we've convinced ourselves are in our best interest was especially helpful, as often these routines are detrimental because we have not taken the time t This is a great inspirational read for those who struggle with writing and wish to change their past associations with writing from those of dread to excitement. I enjoyed the emphasis of rewarding oneself for their hard work to create positive neuronal pathways between the act of writing and pleasure. I also thought the idea of changing routines we've convinced ourselves are in our best interest was especially helpful, as often these routines are detrimental because we have not taken the time to get to know our "writing brain" well enough to develop a plan that would be beneficial to it. I do dock one star from this book, however, because while its ideas are thoroughly researched and it is extremely helpful for writers of all skill levels, I feel this could have done with some more thorough editing. Creating a book on craft only for its final copy to be littered with easily avoidable errors seems counterintuitive and almost negates its overall message. Still, it is an important read and definitely one I'm happy to have completed in time for NaNoWriMo.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Zoraida Rivera Morales

    Susan Reynolds' book provides information about the brain and how it applies to the process of writing. I like how she sprinkles facts throughout about studies related to the brain and writing. She, also, divides the chapter into topics and subtopics. I liked the test she has on the first chapter about what it included and would have liked something similar or a review at the end of each chapter since they have so much information. The reading can feel dense, at times. The text can be useful as Susan Reynolds' book provides information about the brain and how it applies to the process of writing. I like how she sprinkles facts throughout about studies related to the brain and writing. She, also, divides the chapter into topics and subtopics. I liked the test she has on the first chapter about what it included and would have liked something similar or a review at the end of each chapter since they have so much information. The reading can feel dense, at times. The text can be useful as a reference to write or revise. I specially liked the process of revision that she presents and so many ideas to prepare your brain to write and maintain the effort till the end. A book to read slow and learn.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maya

    If you read writing advice books extensively, you've most likely encountered everything this book has to say already. Somehow though, having it all pulled together here really helped me. I appreciated the occasional quizzes and this book was the one that inspired me to give myself permission to be the kind of writer that I really am rather than continuing to try and mold myself into someone else's ideal.

  16. 5 out of 5

    A.M.

    I really liked this – it’s a great combination of recent scientific research and ideas on how to apply it to your writing life. Some of it seems like common sense – go for a walk, take a break, do it the opposite to the way you usually do it – and some more of it was detailed strategies for brainstorming, lists of ideas to try, and even editing tips. The book starts with the idea and works right through to editing the final draft. 4 stars Now I’m off to look up Kirtan Kriya yoga.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Mahoney

    A good pep talk through the various stages of writing a manuscript including quotes from writers like Atwood, Le Guin, Bradbury, Kingsolver and Norman Mailer. Reynolds divides the book into phases beginning with prepping your writing brain. A helpful Appendix of book titles and an index for spot reviews.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Fantastic book. This book has lots of useful strategies to maximise your energy and your motivation as you write. What I liked most about it though was the in-depth section about how to assess, edit and rewrite your own work to improve it pre-publication. It's the best information of its kind that I have come across. I learned loads and took lots of notes!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Must read for budding writers. A good skim for those writing professionally that are looking for a few new ways to go about writing. It does not focus on craft, the boo focuses on writing as a process at different stages and what your brain is experiencing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Ferrell

    Great book for aspiring writers! The author uses proven neuroscience and applies it to the art of writing. Learn how to use your brain effectively, increasing your imagination and focus.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Doree Weller

    This book has a lot of interesting information about the brain and different techniques to work with the way the brain works.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Victor Oh

    This book is a must-have for all writers. I highly recommend it. I will revisit this book hopefully daily to internalise the knowledge here.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katherynne Boham

    This was well worth reading-I didn't find all of the information in it useful but enough that the book has earned a permanent spot on my shelves. I posted more about this book on my blog, Renaissance Woman. https://kamboham.com/2017/05/21/devel... This was well worth reading-I didn't find all of the information in it useful but enough that the book has earned a permanent spot on my shelves. I posted more about this book on my blog, Renaissance Woman. https://kamboham.com/2017/05/21/devel...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    The book is encouraging and practical, a great resource backed by brain research.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Water

    This book probably has not bad advice on how to really get into "writing mode" but I found it terribly bland and hard to get much out of.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jay Snyder

    Wonderful insights. My book is dog eared from so much useful information about writing and the writing process. The added quotes serve as inspiration.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melisa

    As someone who occasionally dreams of being a writer but who realistically knows I lack the willpower, creativity, ideas and ability to actually put together a significant enough piece of work worthy of publishing, I admire anyone and everyone who pursues this creative outlet. This book, although maybe not as helpful to me now as it could be, inspires me to dream of more than what I currently have. Maybe someday I'll put together something I'm willing to share with the public, but for now I enjo As someone who occasionally dreams of being a writer but who realistically knows I lack the willpower, creativity, ideas and ability to actually put together a significant enough piece of work worthy of publishing, I admire anyone and everyone who pursues this creative outlet. This book, although maybe not as helpful to me now as it could be, inspires me to dream of more than what I currently have. Maybe someday I'll put together something I'm willing to share with the public, but for now I enjoy writing just for myself and this book gave me valuable insight to help me pursue my current goals and maybe eventually set a new goal. :) This book begins by explaining the science of our brains and how that coordinates with creativity and our ability to physically manifest our thoughts and ideas. The information described can be a good start to help train or re-train your brain to write better and be more creative. Like I've said before, science isn't my forte so perhaps I lost some interest with all the technical jargon, but it was nice to learn more about the underlying cause of why we do what we do and what our brain is capable of accomplishing. Writing is almost sacred to me. I have just used it as a personal outlet thus far rather than trying to tell a story, fiction or otherwise. I suppose, though, that recording my personal experiences is a method of storytelling, but I think my voice is very unedited. I write like how I would speak to my very best friend, and the techniques suggested in this book are for the more refined. I will always want to learn more about the craft, and although I might not know how to use this book to publish a book myself right now, it does contain useful information that would be helpful to keep in mind during the writing process. Some things I found most interesting throughout the book were the different steps to take to create, whether it's developing outlines, characters or plots and arcs. It also suggest different ways to maximize the creativity inside that I hadn't thought of before. Reading this book definitely awakened my brain like I think was its intent. Although I don't think now is the right time for me, it was stimulating and made me love the written word more. This book made me think of interesting topics such as whether someone has an affinity for writing, learning why writers write and discovering and considering why I want to write. This book can definitely be motivating. It provides ideas for how to push yourself to think outside the box and pursue avenues that aren't what you'd usually consider and those that might even be uncomfortable. There's also some good advice about how to overcome writers block. It describes how to keep at it when you reach a standstill and keep your intent front and center. Happy writing indeed. :) Please note: I received this book for free through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to everyone who made that possible.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    I ticked so many pages of this book--it was chock full of helpful suggestions and bits of information about getting the most out of your brain. The author lightly reviews how various parts of the brain work and what their specialties are, and enumerates 20 billion neurons plus helper cells and synapses that wire the brain. Then she sets out to suggest positive approaches and exercises to putting the brain to work as a writer's resource/ally/muse. With some input from a wannabe writer (reading th I ticked so many pages of this book--it was chock full of helpful suggestions and bits of information about getting the most out of your brain. The author lightly reviews how various parts of the brain work and what their specialties are, and enumerates 20 billion neurons plus helper cells and synapses that wire the brain. Then she sets out to suggest positive approaches and exercises to putting the brain to work as a writer's resource/ally/muse. With some input from a wannabe writer (reading the kinds of books one wants to write, collecting metaphors, learning new words, observing other writers' methods), the writing brain will go to work on its own--surprising the writer with aha moments of inspiration and hours of flowing creativity. Keys to prepping the brain for the business of writing seem to be keeping the brain in a healthy, happy environment (no distractions, no multitasking, comfortable, and stress free) and rewarding the brain/self. Rewards can range from completion of a writing goal, to chocolate, to an enjoyable or relaxing activity. The brain responds to fun and rewards; best to make writing seem like fun. And a healthy body, well-fed, exercised, and well-rested, will keep the brain healthy. With all of this information in mind, the author walks a wannabe novelist through the paces of how to begin. . .muddle through the middle. . . and polish off the ending. And next, getting the brain in the frame of mind to edit and revise objectively. Nicely, there is an index! Some fun asides from this book: The pleasure of eating chocolate and the thrill of learning new words or a new language light up the same part of the brain. So it's no wonder that writers often reward or coax themselves through hard spots with the reward of chocolate. And multi-tasking is not possible, especially when the tasks involve cognitive attention. Even if miniscule in time duration, the brain is actually shifting between one task and another.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I found the neuroscience aspect of this book fascinating. As a starter (but not a finisher) of novels, I especially appreciated the tips on staying motivated and nurturing the brain's ability to focus. There are some writing tips that I found helpful, as well as lots of resources listed in the Appendix. If you need a book about the nitty-gritty details of the writing craft, there are books that will better meet that need. However, there is plenty of advice here to at least get you started. And s I found the neuroscience aspect of this book fascinating. As a starter (but not a finisher) of novels, I especially appreciated the tips on staying motivated and nurturing the brain's ability to focus. There are some writing tips that I found helpful, as well as lots of resources listed in the Appendix. If you need a book about the nitty-gritty details of the writing craft, there are books that will better meet that need. However, there is plenty of advice here to at least get you started. And since I came for motivation rather than instruction, I found this book to be a helpful resource that I will be likely to refer back to over and over.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Teri-K

    Interesting book that uses some of the latest info on how the brain works to give writers practical things to do to improve their writing lives. Some of it felt like common sense to me, some reinforced what I'm already doing, but there was info that made me think differently, too. I enjoyed this book enough to buy a copy that I could mark up and refer to. I think incorporating these suggestions into my life will help encourage me to be more relaxed, confident and creative in all of my life, not Interesting book that uses some of the latest info on how the brain works to give writers practical things to do to improve their writing lives. Some of it felt like common sense to me, some reinforced what I'm already doing, but there was info that made me think differently, too. I enjoyed this book enough to buy a copy that I could mark up and refer to. I think incorporating these suggestions into my life will help encourage me to be more relaxed, confident and creative in all of my life, not just my writing.

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