Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Sadly We Don't Only Use 10% of Our Brain Capacity?

I'm in shock after discovering that the famous "we only use 10% of our brain capacity" is in fact a myth. Scientific evidence proves that this isn't true and is a myth that presumably arises from a misinterpretation of research made in the early 1900s when researchers said that "only 10% of the neurons in the brain fire at any given time" (it says so in Wikipedia, not that I know anything about this type of thing).

Anyway, this revelation is pretty unsettling because it just shows what a low brain capacity I've got. I always found some comfort in thinking I couldn't do much more with only 10% of a brain, so being so forgetful wasn't really my fault. I've suddenly lost my excuse for being a half-turnip. Now what do I say?

For the past months I've been reading blog after blog in search of all the writing suggestions and advice that will make my novel worthy of an Orange Prize -in fact any colour prize would make me happy, as long as it's not foggy grey or doomed black.

So, as I read through all the wonderful advice available, the level of information in my brain rose and rose until it was so crammed it just couldn't save any more words. This is when I was expecting the other alleged 90% of brain capacity to kick in, but it never happened. It's reached its maximum capacity and either I delete some of the data stored or no new information will fit in. Which means, not only my house needs tidying up, but my brain needs decluttering too and I don't know where to start.

There is such a variety of opinions, rules, advice, do's and don't do's which I need to know, that if I delete the wrong information I might miss my chance for an award. Any ideas? How do you select which information to keep? Whatever matches your own ideas or your current situation? Whatever someone you admire says? Whatever someone successful says?


  1. Oh, I feel your 10 per cent pain. My strategy is that whatever sinks in is really the important stuff. That way whenever I don't remember, I can comfort myself with the thought that I wasn't important anyway.

  2. Interesting post! And I'm very forgetful too; I write reminders for myself all the time on index cards.

    I guess I just keep the information that isn't too hard for me to remember, but I'll admit that if someone successful says "do this," I'll be more inclined to at least CONSIDER their advice.

  3. There's a great, short article on how to write by Stephen King : EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WRITING SUCCESSFULLY IN 10 MINUTES.

    I'd pay attention to what a best-selling author like Mr. King has to say. And he makes you smile. How cool is that?

    But that said, take all advise and run it through the filter of your instincts. If it grates on them, ignore the advise and go with your heart. Roland

  4. My theory is that you can only do so much reading about how to write. I'm also guilty of reading too many 'how to' articles. I think it's called displacement activity. The most important thing to do is to write.

  5. Talli, I'll take your example, if you forget, it wasn't important!!

    Amanda, I sometimes wonder in writing if part of the success is down to luck.

    Roland, Thanks for the link to the article, very interesting. Many recommend his advice on writing.

    Rosalind, you're right about the displacement activity, but I can't stop myself from rummaging through the blogs.

  6. The good news is that we can actually give our brains a workout and memory will improve!

    I tend to just write down anything important enough to remember. :)

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  8. This post resonated so well with me and made me laugh. I sometimes think my brain is going to overload and I always forget things, usually the most important information I should be remembering.

  9. Yo estoy de acuerdo con Rosalind... a escribir se aprende escribiendo. Sí, puedes leer mucho sobre ello, sí, te pueden dar muchos consejos, sí, puedes tomar cursos sobre redacción, etc., pero si no te pones a escribir, no aprendes. Es como nadar, pintar, andar en bici... ser teórico no te hace bueno en ello. Y también estoy de acuerdo con India: apunta todo aquello que creas es importante para escribir mejor, hazlo en el momento que lo has leído, así puedes repasarlo las veces que quieras sin volverte loca buscando la fuente. ;-)

  10. India, I hear the word workout and my whole body cringes. Maybe if it's only the brain working and no other exercise involved I'll manage it.

    Debs, I really feel overloaded at times. Like I don't want to read another word, but still keep doing it.

    Gaby, writing is practice as Rosalind says and I will try to be as organized as India and write down important posts. I've often gone back to one and couldn't find it, which was very frustrating.


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