COPYWRITING IN ACTION INSIGHT #34
Take Your Copywriting for a Walk.
Reading Time 5 minutes. Art by Ksanawo
It takes about twenty minutes of walking for the miracle to happen.
And it always happens.
About twenty minutes in (approximately 3,556 steps), the monkey-chatter of my brainwaves (Beta frequencies of 14 – 30 Hz) settles down. Now I am in the Alpha/Theta frequencies of 5 – 10 Hz. I’m feeling content. I’m feeling confident. In this state, I am mentally relaxed. There are long enough spaces between my thoughts for light to come through — intuition, insight, clarity.
With this light comes a cascade of neurotransmitters from the centre of my brain’s cognitive function (your stock standard prefrontal cortex).
First the dopamine kicks in. Now my creative juices are filling up; and my desire to make meaning of the world gets elevated.
Next come the norepinephrines. Now I’m getting greater control over my attention and emotions.
Then the anandamides make their presence felt by activating my lateral thinking. I’m getting to see outside my usual limits.
Before my mind gets too excited by the possibilities opening up, the serotonins clock in. These traffic officers help me modify and direct any runaway brain activity. I am paying attention on purpose.
In short, I am “in the zone”.
Distractions fade from my view. Time loosens its hold on me and it slips away. My ego dissolves into thin air. This neuroanatomical dissolution is called “transient hypofrontality” (p.60; Perfect Motion; Lineen) causing a temporary reduction of brain activity in my prefrontal cortex. It’s not only connected with problem-solving, experiential learning and creative-ideation but also sense of self. When the prefrontal cortex shuts down, my fixed ideas and steadfast beliefs loosen up. I now move through the world more fluidly and I see things in a new light.
The unknown (problem) can be known (solution). The invisible (subconscious) can be visible (conscious). My mind is ready to perform at its peak.
The more I walk (4,000 – 10,000 steps), the more neurotransmitters are discharged. It’s now raining fresh ideas, fresh solutions, fresh answers.
This is when the neurotrophins get into the act. They build and reinforce cellular infrastructure for my ideas to be articulated. Headlines come up. Pictures appear. Sentences formulate. Creative codes get cracked.
By the time I reach my favourite destination — Elwood Beach Kiosk Cafe — pen, pad and macchiato come out to jot down the best of my thinking.
Another walk; another miracle.
Then one day I read Jono Lineen’s Perfect Motion: How Walking Makes Us Wiser, and I am … wiser. Walking and creativity are clearly connected he writes: “when we rose up onto two legs and freed our hands to manipulate objects, bipedalism and creative thought became intrinsically linked” (ibid; p.19).
Homo habilis stood up to become Homo erectus.
Now we were doing long-distance walking … all the way out of Africa. This of course meant endless discoveries that enriched our brain and broadened our mind. Walking developed in us “a state of flow”, termed as “heightened state of consciousness” by psychologist, Mihalyi Csikszenmihalyi (ibid; p.21).
Thanks to walking, we evolved in leaps and bounds. In short, knowledge and creativity and the extraordinary results of both developed on foot.
Dutch psychologist Matthijs Baas (ibid; p.194) calls it “mindfulness”.
Jon Kabat-Zinn (ibid; p.175) calls it “paying attention on purpose”.
Shunryu Suzuki (ibid; p.173) calls it “beginner’s mind”, because the beginner’s mind holds many possibilities whereas the expert’s mind holds very few.
Jono Lineen calls it “perfect motion”. His book makes scientific sense of the miracle of walking. My walking on the job story here is informed by Lineen’s book. It’s a kind of narrative synopsis of his book which I highly recommend. It’s a breezy read with a whole new set of insights into thinking on your feet.
And in a copywriter’s case, copywriting on your feet.
Meanwhile, my online copywriting course’s latest timetable is up and running and ready to take your booking now.
Back Cover Blurb.
Since our first ancestor rose up to place one foot in front of another, our desire to walk has produced fundamental changes in our bodies and minds.
In Perfect Motion, Jono Lineen investigates that transformation, and why walking has made us more creative, helped us to learn, constructed our perception of time, strengthened our resilience and provided a way of making sense of our life – and death.
After the tragic loss of his younger brother, Lineen experienced walking’s regenerative power firsthand. Grief-stricken and adrift, he set off on a 2700-kilometre solo trek across the Himalayas. He walked for months until his legs ached and feet blistered, and by the end of the expedition something had changed in him. He was stronger – not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally.
What had happened? What had given him this feeling of peace; joy even? Determined to find out, he began researching the science and history of walking and running, and discovered that there were fascinating reasons for his metamorphosis. Now, weaving together his own remarkable personal stories with evolutionary research, psychology, neuroscience, anatomy and philosophy, Lineen reveals for the first time the powerful effect that even the shortest strolls can have on us. And why walking is what we’re made to do; it is our perfect motion.