Tips By Mary Jaksch Want to write better? I mean, a lot better – in just ten minutes. I’m not talking about some kind of writing Voodoo; I want to show you a no-fail way that can improve your writing dramatically in minutes. Let’s start at the beginning. And that means starting with the brain, because that’s the main machine we use for writing. Whether it’s having great ideas, or choosing a structure, or dancing with words – it’s all to do with brainpower. So a simple way to write better is to boost the performance of your brain. How to boost brainpower in only 10 minutes? Here’s what made me consider this question: I was recently in Las Vegas at Blogworld where I spent 5 days in canned air with piped muzak. I tried to write – but my imagination was sluggish and my focus scattered. When I got back home to New Zealand, I inhaled the pure air deep into my lungs. And I got really excited about raising my fitness. After all, as a writer I tend to sit at my desk a lot. Maybe you do too? I started an 8-week Fitness Challenge and wrote a post, called Want to be Fit, or even Ultra-Fit? Join the 8-Week Challenge People joined in droves. As soon as I started cranking up my fitness, my creativity flooded back. It’s not only the oxygen that sharpens our skills, what makes a difference is that exercise is a circuit breaker that lifts us out of the writing rut. Here is how to lift your writing to new heights in 10 minutes Exercise briskly for 10 minutes If possible, exercise outside so that you have a change of environment. Once you’re outside, walk briskly or run. If you can’t go outside, use whatever is at hand for exercise. For example, a staircase is a great exercise tool. Run or walk up one flight of stairs. Then take some deep breaths and repeat. Raise your pulse rate It’s important to raise your heart rate substantially. When you do that, the mind lets go of worries and preoccupations and focuses on the exercise itself. This means that you can return to writing with a clear mind. Get out of breath Being out of breath is good! Use it as your benchmark for brisk exercise. When you are ‘out of breath’ you are gulping huge amounts of oxygen which will refresh your brain. Be mindful When you exercise, leave mp3 player and phone behind. Focus on your present experience. Notice the color of the sky, the ground under your feet, and the sounds around you. When we are mindful (which is really a form of meditation), the mind becomes expansive and open. Drink water At the end of the 10 minutes exercise, drink a couple of glasses of water. Hydration also helps your brain to function well. Taking ten minute breaks like this is a great habit. Not only does exercise boost brainpower, it also acts like a circuit breaker. This is especially helpful if you get stuck with the piece you’re writing, or if progress is sluggish. Once you get back to your desk, remember to sit upright. Good posture helps your mind to focus. That’s why most forms of meditation include instructions for upright posture. When the spine is aligned, random thoughts die down and you are less likely to get caught in endless cycles of ‘what if’ or ‘if only’ thought patterns, and can open up to your full creativity.