Use Your Analyzer Switch to Increase Productivity

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Today’s post is by author, editor and coach Jessica Conoley (@jaconoley).

Every writer’s brain contains an analyzer switch. The switch regulates analytical thinking, which is the part of brain that dissects drafts and figures out how to improve projects during revisions. Conversely, it regulates ideaphoria—which is the quality that helps us bang out a first draft in record time because ideas are flowing at an exponential rate.

Most of us have no idea the switch is there. We assume our brain is hardwired at its current static setting. This assumption keeps us saying things like, “I love drafting, but revisions are the worst!” While our critique partner says, “First drafts are stab-my-face-off awful to write. I can’t wait until I have enough words to start revising.” We mope over the skills we seemingly don’t possess (which others have clearly been naturally blessed with), which slows our writing process and triggers a slew of mindset issues.

If any of this sounds familiar, and you wish you could amp up your ideaphoria or analytical abilities, I’ve got great news for you. Your brain isn’t hardwired, it’s fancy and neuroplastic. Therefore, you can improve the weaker side of your writing practice by consciously adjusting the setting on your analyzer.

To adjust your analyzer

All you need is a little imagination with a touch of visualization.

  1. Imagine your analyzer switch. Maybe it’s a round knob like the kind that turns on your dining room light, or a stereo volume dial, or some other type of dimmer switch. Mine looks like a soundboard with sliding levers that move up or down. The important part is this is NOT an ON/OFF toggle switch.
  2. Decide the appropriate setting for the type of writing task you are getting ready to work on.
  3. Visualize adjusting your dial to the setting. For me that looks like sliding the levers all the way up to engage my analyzer. When I slide them all the way down, I’m at the 100% ideaphoria setting.

This takes less than ten seconds to do and can profoundly impact your productivity.

My default falls to the 95% analytical side of the spectrum. The highly analytical side is great when I’m editing, and awful when I’m drafting. When I began turning down my analyzer before drafting sessions, I found my inner critic was muted and my compulsive need to stop, re-read, and assess the quality of my words was mitigated exponentially.

My prolific page count clients default to a high ideaphoria setting. After implementing analyzer adjustments before they write, they have shared revisions are much more palatable and efficient.

How to use your analyzer settings

Turn your analyzer up/decrease ideaphoria when you:

  • Need to cut word count
  • Research
  • Copy-edit
  • Read to study/improve craft

Turn your analyzer down/increase ideaphoria when you:

  • Need to increase word count
  • Draft fresh content
  • Brainstorm
  • Over-think to the point of paralysis and need to get unstuck

Set your analyzer somewhere in the middle when you:

  • Re-read a draft you’ve set aside for some time
  • Beta read
  • Plot/Outline
  • Try out a new genre or form of writing

Because you’re a writer I know you have the creative ability to experiment with this very simple exercise.

Scientifically the visualization primes your mind to work in a certain brain-space, cues your body that it is time to get to work, and empowers you to take ownership of your ability to learn and modify your behaviors. You’re reinforcing a growth mindset which is key in your evolution as a writer.

Let me know how adjusting your analyzer worked for you. If you find a certain task benefits from turning your switch up or down, please share in the comments below.

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