A Writer’s Metaphysical and Scientific Mind

A Writer’s Metaphysical and Scientific Mind

As writers, we’re on the constant quest to improve our writing - which often leads us to wondering how our brains tick, and how we can know our minds better in order to produce our best work. And often we question whether we’re more naturally in tune with our creative or logical side, and which will give us better results, but as we explore and research we find the two are not mutually exclusive and in fact, they need and rely on each other while we write. I’ve also often heard intellectuals, not just writers, discuss whether they have a more of a metaphysical or a scientific mind. But as writers, I strongly believe we can’t just accept one or the other. We have to have both. 

Let’s break it down into simple definitions first. Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space. In short, it’s theory, with no direct basis of facts. Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence. In short, it seeks to gather facts to support our theories. One of the most common examples of the two in opposition is the study of God versus the Big Bang theory.

So how does this relate to writing? Metaphysics exists outside the realm of human perception. It’s the ultimate beliefs of who we are, our faith, our philosophies, our intuitions, and most often the basis for our individual writing. What we think and believe in inspires our words. Especially in poetry, our metaphysical beliefs can easily be translated onto the page. The same is true for nonfiction- if writing a book about metaphysics itself or your personal beliefs. But, for you fiction writers, metaphysics and science must work together to produce a well-rounded book. You must be able to access both parts of your mind, the metaphysical to decide what overarching belief you want to share, and the scientific to make sure what you're claiming is actually possible. For example, if you’re writing a book about time travel, you have to provide some scientific evidence for how it would be possible. Of course, the evidence itself can be entirely made up, but you can’t solely rely on the concept of fiction or plot armor to justify your every claim. 

When you write, all parts of your brain are actively engaged. Just as an athlete trains their body, our brains can be trained and improved upon the more we write. And also just as an athlete tires, so does our brain after long bouts of creativity. Have you ever felt the desperate need for a nap during or after several hours of writing? Since both the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere work together to handle the comprehension, brainstorming, story creation, physical writing, and fact-checking of a story, being a writer can be exhausting. But, accepting and accessing both the metaphysical and scientific parts of yourself is what takes your writing from merely good, to great.

Here are some follow-up activities to boost both your metaphysical and scientific mind:

  • Make a list of your core beliefs/ ideals
  • Research- anything and everything, especially if it relates to a story idea you have
  • Push yourself- write for longer than you normally do; if you’re a fiction writer, try writing a poem and vice versa
  • Read- read the content you hope to write yourself; read something out of your normal wheelhouse, compare it to your own writing and brainstorm how you can incorporate it
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