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Saturday, May 21, 2011

BLOG TOUR: Guest Post with Author Bryan Cohen + Giveaway!

Hi there everyone!
How goes it in your part of the world?
Mine...meh, but that's beside the point as today we are having a celebration!
For what you may ask?  Didn't you know?  Today is...


Let's hear it for little known holidays around the world.
Hey, just gives you the perfect excuse to use the phrase "didn't you get the memo" or write all the sticky notes you want or even just buy another pad of them, you know, the really cute froggy ones you had your eye on last time at the office supply store.... ^_^

Anywho...a big round of applause for the day and for another GREAT reason to break out the memo pads, we have a special guest today with a post you'll want to take note (or memo...hehe) of.  It comes to us from author Bryan Cohen, the writer behind such works as 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More as well as the site Build Creative Writing Ideas where aspiring writers can get that little (or big) push the need to keep their writing dreams alive.  Today he shares with us a look at the adult brain, ways to keep it in shape, and how to keep those creative juices flowing free with the wonderful ideas you're just dying to share.  Are you ready?

Ladies and gents, please Bryan Cohen!


By Bryan Cohen

Last year, I came very close to putting all my resources and time into a book about the brain. While I’ve put that project on the shelf for now, my preliminary research turned up a lot of interesting data that is worth sharing. As more and more stories about Alzheimer’s disease and mental deterioration spread around, it’s important to realize that there are things we can do now to keep our brains more fit as we get older.

Neuroscientists used to believe that once you had your adult brain, you were pretty much stuck with it. New research, however, has shown that not only can the brain change, but it can change drastically. This ability of the brain to change over time is called neuroplasticity. The way to change the brain for the better is to stimulate neurotrophins, chemicals that help your brain to create pathways to new information and skills. To be an old dog that can learn new tricks, you have to stimulate the neurotrophins.

To do this, the brain requires new types of stimulation to keep running in top shape and to create these valuable neurotrophins. This means that if you do the same job day in and day out for thirty years, your brain gets bored and starts shutting down the parts you don’t use. Couple this with the fact that focus on a new idea or task is the best way to remember it and we live in the age of multitasking and you’ve got a problem. How do you keep your brain fit and active with a repetitive job and a focus-challenged society?

The old adage of doing crosswords and Sudoku puzzles is partly true. If you do decide to supplement your life with puzzles, try switching up the types of puzzle every month. Do crosswords one month, word scrambles the next, Sudoku puzzles the next, and so on. Learning new body positions like those in karate, tai chi, and even tennis lessons can give your brain something new to chew on as well. Exercise in general is also helpful for getting oxygen to your brain, providing additional mental stimulation.

Practicing your handwriting, especially cursive script, may improve connections between your brain and hands and your brain and your mouth. In short, handwriting practice may indirectly improve your writing and speaking. In addition, try writing with your opposite hand to truly give your brain a novel experience.

Combine your senses and instincts in novel ways to create some new mental pathways. Take a shower with your eyes closed, light a different scented candle in your bedroom every day at the same time, and brush your teeth with the opposite hand. Another method to stimulate neurotrophins includes going on a drive with no destination in particular, getting lost, and finding your way back.

These are just a few of the many ideas and exercises that I believe will become commonplace in a decade or so. I have used these methods to stimulate my brain to write more effectively and to learn new materials. If you are feeling low on brain juice, test a few of these ideas and after a week or two, you may feel more alert and intelligent. If regular motivational books and audio tracks haven’t helped you, try to target the source: your sluggish but improvable brain.


Author Bio

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he has written four books (1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Sharpening the Pencil: Essays on Writing, Motivation, and Enjoying your Life, and Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job), several plays (Something from Nothing and Chekhov Kegstand: A Dorm Room Dramedy in Two Acts) and he was the head writer for an un-produced Web series (Covenant Coffee). His writing and motivation website Build Creative Writing Ideas has had over 100,000 visitors since it was founded in December 2008. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Follow Bryan on Twitter @buildcwideas.


Did you catch all of that?
Still have room on your memo pad?
Good and if not, make some post haste for it's time for a....

Bryan Cohen is giving away 100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner.

He is also giving away free digital copies of his book The Writing Sampler to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing. The book contains essays, writing prompts and tips and tricks to enhance your writing skills.

In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!

(Sound good?)

To enter, simply post a comment to this blog post with your e-mail address.  Entries will be counted through June 2nd, 2011.


Well there you have it.
Another post has come and gone leaving YOU with a few things to consider trying before your next big writing fest as well as a chance to win....and a good excuse to indulge in your sticky note buying habits (hehe).

Special thanks to author Bryan Cohen for stopping by and for the incredible giveaway.  Be sure to check out his site for more great tips on how to stay focused on your writing dreams and don't forget to check out the other amazing tour stops still to come as he makes his way through the blogosphere!

Until next time...good luck to those that enter...and happy reading (and writing)!


Vanessa said...

Interesting post. I may try some of those exercises just for fun!

adventureinbooks at gmail dot com

Darlene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darlene said...

Glad I saw this post. I am now motivated to sit and write for a while.

Crafkitten @ gmail . Com

RivkaBelle said...

Wow, great contest! And what a cool post too - lovin' the whole concept of prompts. I used to have a poetry-prompt daily calendar ... Maybe I'll dig that out again :o)


Misha said...

Great guest post! I learned things I wasn't even aware of. I had no idea that handwriting practice not only improves writing writing but speaking as well.

bryandavidcohen said...

Thanks everybody! And thank you to Gina for letting me be a part of your blog for a day :).

Trust me when I say the handwriting thing is just scratching the surface. I read a story about a woman who had trouble speaking, with syntax and telling time. She started devising exercises for herself, practicing telling time down to the hundredth of a second.

Let's just say, the things she was weak at, she's now become a master at. The brain is an awesome and adaptable organ :).

Sofia said...

This sounds really interesting! Would love to read more on the subject :)


Marilu said...

Great post! I am feeling slightly inspired! I am going to go hunt down one of his books today!
Awesome contest too! Please enter me. Thanks!
lovemykidsandbooks AT gmail DOT com

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