What exactly is a “Mental Squeeze Point”?
I’d asked the question early on in the forums for Nick Milo’s Linking Your Thinking course.
Paraphrasing, he responded “mental squeeze points” are about recognizing moments of frustration. We can then respond by creating a new space to organize ourselves, find new bearings, while managing those blocked feelings.
Here we look at these frustrations, these mental squeeze points, as they relate to writing. When writing, we are dealing with our thoughts, and my goodness, don’t those get frustrating?
Maybe you are like some of my high school peers who could handwrite an entire essay, front to back, in a single sitting (and get a good grade, to boot!). That’s not me.
Ideas rarely come in some nicely ordered format. They bombard from all different angles, whether I’m writing or editing. In fact, writing and editing are hardly separable for me. Getting my thoughts into some semblance of order is as much for the reader as it is for myself.
While I do adore analog, copy and paste are such wonderful digital blessings.
Regardless, I get stuck. I get frustrated. I wonder does this go here or there? Does this idea belong in a separate note? Where does this connect? Didn’t I write about this before? Doesn’t this conflict with that?
A “mental squeeze point” is a first step into engaging a primary organizational step, namely creating a space. Nick then builds, what he variously calls “Maps of Content”, “Workbenches”, or otherwise. These are areas in which you can begin organizing your other notes.
Having an index or a table of contents for other notes isn’t a new idea. But Nick adroitly describes where this tool, along with creating certain saves points, can nicely structure a path for flow, that same flow of mastery.
As one becomes frustrated, we can invoke a space to pull ourselves out of the thickets. Adjusting scope, moving from small to large and back, allows us to tune in to the subtle waves of both frustration and interest, a vital part of the practice of mastery.
With practice, we have a better handle on how to minimize this inherent frustration. Further, we may even learn to seek the sensation, now finding it more as a welcome challenge than as an unwelcome overwhelm.
Frustration is in not “bad”, per se. It is only problematic if there is no practiced lever, no way to release steam.
With practice, we can develop a confidence to guide ourselves towards an engaging challenge, which in turn further emboldens confidence.
PS I quite enjoyed Nick’s Linking Your Thinking course. If you’re interested, check out this non-affiliate link.