Monday, March 12, 2012

The Science of Creativity

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, How to Be Creative, explored the unlikely influences that have been found to spark creative juices and genius. The author explains that sometimes what seems like a sudden, magical leap between a stubborn spot on the blank page and the words and thoughts that come out of the blue to fill that spot aren't so much magical, as lurking in the back of the brain, waiting for you to put your guard down and let them through.

The science of creativity has found that the answers often come in the oddest, most disconnected ways. Putting the problem on the back-burner and letting the brain relax a little can actually allow it to plumb the depths wherein the answer lies!

This probably explains why I get some of my best ideas while driving the car, blowing drying my hair, or...reading an article on creativity! This is not to say that good old fashioned sweat and editing aren't also necessary, but the match that lights the brilliant idea in the first place is often fueled by what might seem like unusual circumstances and activities.

The author, Jonah Lehrer, lists 10 quick creativity 'hacks' to get you going. Some might ring a bell for the creative type. Daydreaming, for instance, is probably high up on my list. I'm sure my family often thinks I'm doing nothing in particular when I'm actually working my way through a plot or crafting a scene in my head.

Not surprisingly, being a little drunk...or high, I imagine, brings out the creativity. I'm sure plenty of police officers would agree with this. Still, while intoxication clearly did wonders for Samuel Coleridge when he wrote the classic poem Kubla Khan, I wouldn't recommend this as a daily writing practice. Especially if you're a one-drink kinda person, like yours truly! So, my advice on this one is to take advantage of it when it comes along, but pass it up as a lifestyle.

Other tips include getting out of your comfort zone and traveling, meeting new people, exchanging new ideas. Those all make sense to me!

Another is surrounding yourself with the color blue, which leads to 'relaxed and associative thinking.' Great idea...if I hadn't just painted my office sage green...that's a lotta wall space to paint again. Of course, I could do a lot of daydreaming while I paint!

photo courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post, Robin! I love the idea that blue leads to 'relaxed and associative thinking.' There's lots of blue on your blog -- good choice! I'll visit often. :)