Whether you are a full-time writer, part-time freelance writer or casual weekend blogger, you are likely familiar with writing's unique cognitive challenges.
Pitfalls like procrastination and writer's block hamper productivity and creativity. Deadlines and stress make it even harder to stay sharp, just when you need your writing skills most. And the intense focus, concentration and multitasking needed for good writing can leave you with mental burnout.
This guide discusses how brain-boosting nootropics for writers can help with all of these challenges -- nourishing the mind before you sit down to write to promote peak creativity, productivity and mastery of the written word.
The Writer's ToolBox
Good writers multitask all day long. The act of writing lights up many areas of the brain at once and taps into a long list of mental constructs, including:
- planning and foresight
- endurance and willpower
- focus and concentration
- decision making
Whether it's creating characters and plotting storylines for a novel, researching scientific, clinical, or historical data for a white paper or journal article, or coming up with this week's blog topic, writers use both right and left brain functions.
Overall brain health is important for neural communication, but there are some areas of cognitive function that benefit writers, specifically.
Most writers are notoriously sensitive creatures. That's good when it comes to fleshing out characters and writing tear-jerking scenes, but it’s not always the best for mood balance. All writers have down days, and feeling irritable, sad, or foggy can make it difficult to stick to writing commitments.
Nootropics for writers can stimulate good-mood transmitters in the brain like serotonin and dopamine and support cerebral blood flow to boost mood and help increase productivity.
Willpower. You need it when you’re facing a deadline or you’re tired or distracted. You need it when you don't get the gig or your manuscript gets rejected and you feel discouraged. You need it when you run out of ideas in the middle of a novel.
Studies show the brain activity of people who can exercise self-control looks significantly different than people who lack discipline. While some people seem to naturally have more willpower than others, it's actually not just something you either have or you don't. You can beat procrastination by training your brain to step up self control, increasing your willpower.
Focus and Concentration
Many writers work either from home or in a noisy, busy workplace. In both environments, opportunities for distraction can be constant. Even if you can cut out distractions, sitting at a computer screen and concentrating on one thing for hours on end can wear on the most disciplined author.
Staying focused on something can take a lot of mental energy, and like any other organ in the body, the brain needs support to maintain optimal function. Many of the ingredients in Mind Lab Pro® nootropics for writers may help your brain perform at its best for longer.
Writing demands constant decision making. Writers choose from a wide range of words and phrasing, character responses, topics, questions to ask, things to leave out. Some scientists think every time you make a decision you exercise a muscle in the brain, and with time that muscle can get worn out. Theoretically, that means if you've been making decisions all day long, your endurance is eventually going to give out.
Fluency in decision making can help save some brain muscle and give you a little more tenacity. When neural communication is flawless and creativity is flowing, decisions come quite naturally.
Author Jean Froelich claims, "To become a writer, you have to be more than a little on the crazy side of persistent.”
While willpower deals with getting started, endurance means sticking with a project until the end. Having mental endurance means tapping into brain energy, and improving cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism in the brain can help writers step up endurance and nail upcoming deadlines.
Creativity is the heart of a writer's art. Without creative inspiration, writing comes across as dry, lifeless, and just plain uninspired. The creative muse can be flighty at best, and at times it's downright evasive. Creativity involves fluency (ability to generate many ideas), flexibility (ability to see multiple perspectives), and originality (ability to come up with original ideas).
Writers need to come up with a different way to present stories and concepts that may have already been covered many times. Getting creative isn't always easy, and inspiration can slip away without warning. When creative juices are ebbing, the brain might need a little help to get them flowing again. Some studies show a correlation between mood and creativity, so if you're feeling stuck, brightening your mood could help you get back on track.
A good memory is priceless to a busy writer. Although writers usually create outlines for any given project, it's impossible to outline every tiny detail, and re-reading what you've already written too often can be a real time-waster.
Writers need to keep track of plots, characters, references, studies, quotes, clients, deadlines, upcoming projects, submissions, queries, and many other writing-related odds and ends. But the real bulk of a writer's work rests on writing the story itself, so a healthy memory can make a writer's life so much easier.
Beat Writer's Block Naturally
The dreaded writer's block. It's an all-too-real phenomenon that can hit the best writers when least expected. Imagine, things are going along swimmingly when one day, out of the blue - nothing. That's right, just...nothing. What happened?
Nobody knows what causes writer's block or when it will strike, but it's one of the most painful experiences a writer can have. Some people speculate that writer's block may be caused by depression, anxiety, or other mental and emotional pressures. Others blame it on a loss of passion, direction, or motivation. Whatever the cause, it hurts. Writer's block can seem like a prison cell. You just want out.
Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome writer's block and get back in the groove.
If it happens to you, don't panic. Put aside whatever project(s) you've become blocked on. Try journaling, free writing, list-making, brainstorming, or reading something unrelated. Get out of the house, go on a trip, or meditate. Most of all, try lowering your expectations. Unrealistic expectations of ourselves can be the biggest creativity killer of all. No one's perfect, so look away from the page, breathe, and try not to think too much.
Oh, and try the following nootropics for writers -- especially relaxing, creativity-stimulating L-Theanine -- to help your brain get unstuck, too.
Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics for Writers
Some writers need to keep track of multiple storylines and characters. Other writers may be journaling or working on personal memoirs. For these writers, (and all writers, really), memory is mission-critical. Phosphatidylserine (PS) may help.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) can help improve various cognitive functions, including the memory and recall that are key for many different styles of writing. A 2010 study found that (PS) improved memory scores.<1> Other studies have found that PS can help with feelings of stress and anxiety, further promoting a mind-state for peak writing productivity.
If you’re under pressure to meet a fast-approaching deadline but you just can't get motivated, rhodiola rosea could help. This natural herb has been called “nature’s energy booster” for its ability to help lessen stress, improve cognitive function, and reduce cognitive fatigue.
A 2000 study showed rhodiola reduced mental fatigue and improved mental performance, short-term memory, and concentration -- all of which are valuable cognitive benefits for writers who may be burning the midnight oil on deadline.<2>
Remember when we said writers are mentally multitasking all day long? Combine that cognitive juggling with the overwhelming stress of a deadline, and you've got a perfect recipe for brain fog and sluggish mental performance. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine is an enhanced form of Tyrosine: A nootropic shown in research to improve mental performance during multitasking and stress.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine in part works by supporting the neurotransmitters that our brains burn through faster while we're multitasking and stressing out. It may also help writers to mentally bounce back from demanding workloads and feelings of "burnout."
Bacopa can benefit writers in several ways. Research shows it can support memory, improve cognition under stress, and balance mood.<3> This may be due to its ability to increase cerebral blood flow. Cerebral blood flow is important for bringing oxygen to the brain and ensuring optimal brain function. When brain blood flow improves, so do memory, mood, and mental clarity.<4>
In addition, Bacopa is an adaptogen that helps with stress and an evidence-backed memory support herb. Combined with its popular reputation as a nootropic for students, this seems to make Bacopa monnieri an ideal nootropic for exams and tests that include essay writing.
Mind Lab Pro® - Ultimate Deadline Stack for Writers
Mind Lab Pro® provides Rhodiola rosea, Bacopa monnieri and NALT, which together form a potent nootropic stack that may help with writing performance during all types of deadlines.
These nootropic supplements have evidence-backed benefits for mental performance under stress and multitasking during chaos -- perfect for writing articles in a busy newsroom, working on a last-minute term paper, or effectively completing any rush writing project.
Lion's Mane Mushroom
Studies have shown a link between positive mood and creativity. Researchers from the University of North Carolina reported that creativity was both a cause and a result of positive thinking and emotions. Another study found similar results, with participants who were in a happy mood performing better on a creativity test.
Lion's Mane promotes nerve growth in the brain and autonomic nervous system. Since low nerve growth factor (NGF) has been linked to mood and concentration problems, Lion's Mane may brighten mood and reduce feelings of anxiety with regular use.<5>
B vitamins are critical for maintaining brain energy, healthy memory, and sharp thinking. Some subtances, like birth control pills, anti-inflammatories like aspirin and ibuprofen and antibiotics, alcohol, refined sugars, and stress can leach vitamin B from the body. Mind Lab Pro's Biogenesis™ blend of B vitamins provides B12 for brain energy and circulation, B9 for sharp mental performance, and B6 for brain communication and emotional balance.
A must-have nootropic for writers, L-Theanine can help writers excel in many important cognitive areas. Studies have shown it can promote Alpha brainwaves, a brain state synonymous with creative thinking and wakeful relaxation.<6>
Applied research indicates that people who operate in an alpha brain state experience increased personal creativity, stress reduction, heightened self-awareness, emotional equanimity, and improved work performance.<7>
Writers rely on both right and left brain functions for creative and logistical tasks, so the writer's brain needs well-rounded support to perform at its best. Because the nutrients you feed your brain are crucial for focus and productivity, consider boosting brainpower naturally with smart supplements. And, in the words of Anne Enright, "Keep putting words on the page."
Mind Lab Pro® nootropics for writers may enhance many different wordsmith-oriented brain functions.
The Universal Nootropic™, Mind Lab Pro® is designed to optimize multiple cognitive activities at the same time, including the focus, willpower and creativity that writers rely upon to produce their greatest works. As a bonus, Mind Lab Pro® is stimulant-free, so authors can maintain concentration and unlock their brain's full potential without distracting side effects.
- Vakhapova V. "Phosphatidylserine Containing ω–3 Fatty Acids May Improve Memory Abilities in Non-Demented Elderly with Memory Complaints: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial." Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2010;29:467–474. doi: 10.1159/000310330.
- Darbinyan V. "Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue — A double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty." Phytomedicine. Volume 7, Issue 5, October 2000, Pages 365-371. doi:10.1016/S0944-7113(00)80055-0.
- Stough C. "The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects." Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Aug;156(4):481-4.
- Kamkaew N, et al. "Bacopa monnieri increases cerebral blood flow in rat independent of blood pressure." Phytotherapy Research. 2013 Jan;27(1):135-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4685.
- Nagano M, et al. "Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake." Biomedical Research. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7.
- Gruzelier J. "A theory of alpha/theta neurofeedback, creative performance enhancement, long distance functional connectivity and psychological integration." Cogn Process (2009) 10(Suppl 1): 101. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10339-008-0248-5
- Boynton T. "Applied Research Using Alpha/Theta Training for Enhancing Creativity and Well-Being." Journal of Neurotherapy: Investigations in Neuromodulation, Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience. Volume 5, 2001 - Issue 1-2.