dog-mom, horse servant and cat-slave,
Lover of solitude
and the company of good friends,
New places, new ideas
and old wisdom.
To be a writer requires the ability to tap into creativity. It is the sine quo non, the foundation of being novelist or a poet. This is not to denigrate the years of learning and work that go into the writing craft. But without the essence of story, craft and skill are tools without a job.
What is creativity? How does it work? How do we turn it on?
Let’s start with what it is. According to the dictionary, creativity is originality, progressiveness or imagination, more specifically, the ability to “transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations.”
Scientists like Dr. George Land, who has spent his career investigating the enhancement of creativity performance, have determined that there are two kinds of thinking. One he calls divergent and the other is convergent. Divergent thinking is when our brain is coming up with new possibilities. Convergent thinking is where the brain is making a judgment, testing, criticizing and evaluating. Although the two sides of our brains (left and right) have specialized areas that contribute to these types of thinking, much more of the whole brain is involved when a person is using their imagination than when using convergent thinking or analyzing.
Louis R. Mobley says creativity can definitely be taught and the key is asking radically different questions in a non-linear way. He also suggests that self-knowledge, giving yourself permission to be wrong, and hanging around with creative thinkers are important elements or learning to be creative.
What kind of specific things can writers do to stimulate divergent or creative thinking and get the whole brain engaged? Here’s a partial list:
- Bubble mapping
- Creating artwork
- Maintaining a journal
- Subject mapping
- Devoting some time to meditation and thinking
- Building lists of questions
All these activities can trigger divergent thinking. What works for one person might not for another and vice versa.
|Photo by Praveesh Palakeel on Unsplash|