If you ever suffer from the dreaded writer's block, a product from my publishers WCCL might be of interest to you.
The Writer's Block CD doesn't actually provide advice or ideas on rediscovering creativity, nor is it (simply) a relaxation inducer. Rather, it uses a psycho-physiological phenomenon called binaural beats to help 'entrain' the mind into a creative state. To explain this, I need to start with a bit of theory.
If you've studied psychology (which I have - a long time ago!), you'll know that scientists can measure the electrical activity in our brains using a device called an electroencephalogram (EEG). It has been known for a long time that different mental states are associated with different patterns of electrical activity. For example, someone who is fully awake and alert will probably exhibit relatively high frequency electrical activity patterns (13-40Hz), known as beta waves. Someone in deep sleep will display low frequency activity (below 3.5Hz), known as delta waves.
The frequency most associated with creativity is alpha (7-13Hz). Alpha waves are typically produced by people in a relaxed, but receptive, frame of mind. It seems to follow that, if you can encourage your brain to go into a high-alpha state, it should give your creativity a boost.
Unfortunately, though, you can't achieve this simply by playing sounds at 7-13Hz. The trouble is that this is simply below most people's hearing threshold. However, the Writer's Block CD attempts to get around this by using 'binaural beat' technology. Stick with me, because I'm almost through with the theory now.
It has been discovered that if you play tones of slightly different frequencies to each ear, they combine within the brain to create a low frequency resonance. For example, if you play a tone of 320Hz in one ear and 330Hz in the other, it will create a resonance at a frequency of 10Hz - the difference between them. By using this method, the brain can be entrained into a high alpha-wave state.
So how does it work in practice? Well, the CD comes in a jewel case, and you simply load it into your music center or PC and play it. It's best if you listen through a pair of headphones rather than loudspeakers. As I mentioned above, the CD works by producing slightly different frequencies in each ear, and if you listen through speakers inevitably the sounds from the left and the right side will get mixed up.
I would also advise turning up the bass quite high: some of the sounds on the CD are quite low-pitched, and it seems to me you get better results if you boost them. And finally, close your eyes while you are listening to the CD. From the occasion when, as a psychology major, I was wired up to an EEG machine, I know that the simple act of closing your eyes can greatly boost your alpha-wave output!
There are two tracks on the CD: a brief intro (which you can skip if you like) and the binaural beat track, which is 35 minutes long. It starts with a low-pitched throb - a bit like having a ten-tonne truck standing on the road outside – and gradually other, higher-pitched tones are introduced over the top of this. I wouldn't recommend playing this CD at a dinner party, but it is not unpleasant to listen to.
The advice provided with the CD is to try to relax as you listen - don't fight against it, in other words! Personally, I use it at the start of my writing day, though impatience sometimes gets the better of me before the CD has finished and I start work while the tones are still playing.
Does it work for me? Yes, I think so. To be honest I don't often suffer from writer's block, but sometimes it takes a while for me to 'get into the groove' at the start of a writing session. I find that listening to the CD relaxes me and helps me to focus on the job in hand. Would it work for everyone? I'm not sure, though there is plenty of evidence that binaural beats do have a real effect, and the phenomenon is increasingly used in treating (among other things) sleep disorders and chronic pain.
For more information about the science involved see, for example, http://web-us.com/thescience.htm
If you'd like to give the Writer's Block CD a try yourself, the following URL will take you straight to the relevant web page: http://www.writers-block-cd.com
. As with all WCCL products, 24-hour customer support is available, and there is a 100% money-back guarantee.