Can Restraints Keep Creativity Alive?

In this video from The 99 Percent, creativity expert Scott Belsky discusses some decidedly uncreative ways to keep ideas alive and moving forward.

How to Avoid the Idea Generation Trap suggests compromise, restraint, planning, and discipline.  The suggestions aren’t as sexy and exciting as the pursuit of new ideas, but they could be helpful in avoiding what he calls the “idea plateau” and in keeping us focused on a project to its completion.

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Your Brain on Write is a series of posts exploring scientific, psychological
and cognitive aspects of writing and creativity. Click here to see additional posts in the series.

Resources: The 99 Percent, Scott Belsky, The Daily Post


Persistence Pays Off for Writers

Dani Shapiro says writers’ tenacity reminds her of a terrier with a bone, but it has its benefits.

In an essay posted on The Inner Writer, bestselling author Dani Shapiro writes about how difficult it has become for new writers to succeed in the publishing world today.  With a focus on blockbusters and bestsellers, she wonders how writers will be able to take the time and put in the effort needed “to create  something original and resonant and true?”

For most writers, the writing life is not the red carpet life.  There are no lush scenes of privilege and excess.  What writers get instead, she writes “is this miserable trifecta: uncertainty, rejection, disappointment.”

Woo hoo! Where do I sign up?

Ms. Shapiro’s insight is discouraging, but it’s also realistic.  It’s a tough door to break through, but there is still room in the market for the newcomers.  By focusing on the writing itself, and not on publishing, perhaps we can we can find the courage and the dogged tenacity to keep going when the rejections and doubts start piling up.  That’s when we’ll find that the risks are worth the rewards.

To read the essay, please visit:  A writing career becomes harder to scale.

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Your Brain on Write is a series of posts
exploring scientific, psychological
and cognitive aspects of writing and creativity.
Click here to see additional posts in the series.

Resources:  The Inner Writer, Dani Shapiro, The Daily Post

Big Project Looming? Take a Break!

Have you ever felt like you needed to take a break to keep your attention? And, have you often fought the urge thinking that you needed to concentrate harder — only to end up losing your focus?

New research suggests you should have listened to you inner self and taken a break.

Read more …

Resources:  Psych Central, The Daily Post

Creativity Research Meets the Inner Critic

If your inner critic keeps you from being as creative you’d like, consider the brick.

No, not for bashing the little bastard, but for stimulating original ideas.

Toronto neuroscientist Oshin Vartanian asks research volunteers what they can do with a brick.  As they go from the obvious to the not-so-obvious uses, he studies what happens in their brains.

This article, Neuroscientists try to unlock the origins of creativity, from Toronto’s Globe and Mail, examines how by exploring creativity, researchers have started to look at the relationship between creative success and our ability to silence the inner critic.

We all have an inner critic.  Some of us have more than one.  The voice can be loud and abusive, or quiet, persistent, and nagging.  How we deal (or don’t deal) with that nasty nitpicker affects how successful we are in allowing our creativity to develop and thrive.  Of course, not all inner critics are harmful.  Sometimes they help us set higher goals for ourselves or reach higher levels of excellence.

As researchers continue to study the confounding world of creativity, or what one scientist calls “a big muddled mess,” it’s fascinating to learn about what they’re discovering.

Read more …

Resources:  The Globe and Mail, The Daily Post

For Writers, Words Happen. But How?

As you write, do your ideas come to you in the form of words or do they come in the form of image, sense, or emotion?  If it’s the latter, how do you translate those sensual experiences into words that convey the experience for readers?

Before Words: How to Think Like A Poet, from the Psychology Today blog Imagine That! explains how for writers such as T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and Virginia Woolf, “writing begins in a land without language.”

Read more.

Resources: Psychology Today, The Daily Post