If you’ve ever been around a litter of newborn puppies or kittens, you’ve likely observed that some are feisty and adventurous, some greedily suckle, some cower while others show dominance, and so on. Studies have found that such personality differences will still appear, even when animals are cloned (meaning that they are genetically identical). In 2013, a researcher cloned a group of genetically identical mice and released them into a large enclosure that provided opportunities for exploration and play. Within a few months, the mouse clones that had explored the most actively sprouted new nerve cells throughout their brains, especially in the hippocampus, a region crucial for memory and spatial navigation; less-adventurous clones showed less brain development.
We may not know why some personality differences exist from birth, but this study suggests that individual experiences sculpt individual brains and personalities, too, even if those brains are genetically identical. What it proves is that you can sculpt your writing brain by unleashing it and venturing into new territory while writing!
One way to unleash your writing genius is to participate in NaNoWriMo (writing a 50,000 novel in the month of November), particularly if it seems like a crazy thing to do. It is crazy, crazy good, particularly if you approach it as a writing adventure.
To write that many words in one month, most of us have to unleash our brains (and our subconscious mind) and hope that writing as many words as possible in a short month (goal is about 1,600 words a day) will result in a congruent story down the line. The genius of NaNoWriMo is that it encourages writers to stop thinking and just write. Ideally, you’ll follow whatever seed pearls roll out of your imagination and just get those words onto “the page,” sans editing. Writing quickly can be a very freeing experience, one that leads to experimentation and, hopefully, a joyful experience.
Participating in NaNoWriMo is a great way to fire up your writing brain.