I have made an interesting discovery lately. I have more than one brain. Not literally, obviously. But it’s like my brain has more than one operating system, like a computer that has Windows and Apple (and maybe Ubuntu, too, just for good measure) in parallel.
I have Writer Brain that’s designed to … well, write. I have Editor Brain that works very differently from Writer Brain. I have Strategy & Planning Brain that works completely differently from the other two. I probably have a few other Brains in there as well, but for the purposes of this blog post, I just want to talk about the three Brains I need for my job.
The thing is, I can only operate out of one of those Brains at a time. I have to disengage Editor Brain and Strategy Brain to write, and vice versa. I know how to summon or boot up Writer Brain. Just make myself sit down and start writing. I know how to boot up Editor Brain–start reading. In fact, I can’t read anything and not shift into Editor Brain, which is quite annoying when I’m trying to enjoy a novel.
But I haven’t figured out yet how to summon or boot up Strategy Brain. When Strategy Brain shows up, all the pieces fit together and make sense. The order of things is clear. I can plan and organize and think things all the way through to the end. I come up with the most surprising, awesome, “how did I think of that?” ideas. It’s kind of marvelous.
But I can’t figure out how to make Strategy Brain show up on command. Strategy Brain just sort of descends on me whenever she feels like it. Here are some other things I know about Strategy Brain:
- Strategy Brain disappears when I’m tired or hungry or emotionally distraught.
- The exception to that rule is sometimes when I’m extremely emotionally distraught, Strategy Brain will show up and bring an eerie calm with her. It’s like Ativan or Kava tea, but without the somewhat dopey-sleepy side effects.
- I would prefer not to intentionally provoke emotional drama in hopes that it will make Strategy Brain show up.
- Strategy Brain often shows up when I make lists or put things in spreadsheets, even if they are silly lists and spreadsheets.
- When Strategy Brain shows up unannounced, if possible, it’s best to let her run loose instead of insisting on doing whatever was on my schedule. Because Strategy Brain is freakin’ brilliant.