Get your brain in shape for the New Year


So, the holidays are over. Decorations are tucked away, the leftovers are long gone and the kids are officially back to school where they have vowed to sprint their way to summer.

(Flickr: Marc Van Norden)

(Flickr: Marc Van Norden)

For some of us, these past two weeks have not just been an indulgence for our bodies (think, late mornings, lazy days, large meals), but it has also been a vacation for our brains.

More lounging and less writing means that that very important mind-muscle of ours gets a little…soft.

So, while the rest of the world looks to get their bodies back into fighting shape, here are some tips for writers to exercise their brains:

Learn something new – Scoot around the web, pick up a book or flip on the news for a chance to learn a unique skill or story. The information will stir up some brain waves and may even send you on some exciting tangent in your writing. Need help getting started? Who was Catherine Parr? Don’t know? Look it up and let your imagination take you someplace new.

Play word games – Word puzzles like Scrabble are a great way to grow and sharpen your vocabulary skills. Another exercise that will lure expressive words to your writing brain is to experiment with limericks. The bouncy, rhyming nature of the poem will wake up your brain cells and get your creative juices flowing again. Here’s an idea to get you going: “There once was a cat from Kentucky…”

Read and read some moreImmerse yourself in a new book. It can be a fun, easy, no-fuss story that is a quick read. That’s okay. Enjoy the plot and the characters and resist the urge to scribble notes in the margins. Just read for the pure pleasure of it.

Wake up your senses – This is especially important if you are in a region of the world that is currently blanketed in snow. Listen to music or close your eyes and hone in on the sound of a ticking clock. Dance or tap your fingers. Inhale the fragrance of a flower or the aroma of a burbling pot of stew. Try a new food. Drink lots of water. Turn the television off and put your walking shoes on.

What kinds of activities do you do to jump start your brain after a brief writing vacation? Share your ideas below.

Kerri S. Mabee is editor at Learn more about her at


Kerri S. Mabee

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