The Blue Paper Trick

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Vagabond Heart

Full Member
Feb 21, 2021
Wokingham, Berkshire, UK
Do you ever hit a wall with your writing? Or get stuck with blank-page syndrome? This is a trick I learnt that may help. (Well, it may help you, because you are probably a proper writer, who rarely gets stuck: whereas I am a wannabe writer, and I have to use this ALL THE TIME.)

Switch your page colour to blue. That's it. Simples. And here's the science bit...

Apparently the meaning we put on colour is pretty subjective, and relates entirely to the culture we grew up in. Green is no more a calming colour than bright purple, it's just our culture thinks it is. But two colours in particular do impact the brain in a way that is globally universal, and those colours are blue and red.

When we look for a period of time at a red object, then it accesses the side of the brain that deals with logic (don't ask me which side that is, I always forget, because I am an artist and not a scientist. But it really does do this, so bear with.) When I need to sort out my tragic accounting, for instance, I make all the figures red until I can add up without bursting into tears.

Blue stimulates the other side of the brain, and makes you think in ways that are creative and free-floating. So I always write on blue paper. Unless I forget. And then I sit there, wondering why everything I'm writing is stodgy as hell. And then I remember the blue paper, and twenty minutes later I am zipping along.

You can take my word for this cos I heard it on Radio 4, and I'm a bit obsessed with colour and have done whole art projects on it, so I paid attention. Or you can try it for yourself and let me know how it goes.
I'm obsessed with colour too and wrote my thesis on colour :) Check out John Gage's Colour and Culture, it's magnificent. I read another one book week about breathing in colour (as therapy) Very interesting!
Logic = left side of brain.

Spanner in the works. What about when the colours you perceive are not the colours you see? (I perceive this dress as white and gold.) Blue is the colour: why do we see #TheDress so differently?

Will check out John Gage. And I’m with you on the dress - can’t see black and blue no matter how I try, but brain aware it’s not got it right, lol.

And would love to read your thesis - colour, and how we perceive it, such an intriguing subject. Did you encounter Peter Scott Morgan (I think his name is), the ‘human cyborg’? Has a chip in his head makes him experience colour as sound.
Xxxx VH
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I read somewhere, that altering the colour of the text, as well as the size and the font assists editing. I tried it and was impressed with the results. Viewing your story on the screen in a different font, in particular, highlights mistakes, breaking the hypnotism that makes our brain see the same old same old...even if it's not really there.

I think that it works in a similar way to how such techniques help dyslexics:

Assistive Technology Visual Stress - The Dyslexia Association
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