by Peggy Bechko
Today I’m not going to talk about writing directly, but hey, we’re writers and we’re all geniuses, right? So let’s consider instead how to pump up those ideas, where they come from.
Have you ever pondered why you seem to get all the best ideas when you’re in the shower, taking a walk, or just drifting off to sleep? We’re all wired that way. If we’re not doing something that makes us laser focus our brains, some demanding task, then you’re in the open and ready to create.
I’m no scientist, but I’ve been told that when we’re doing something by rote or daydreaming, then we’re in a ‘resting state’. And when we’re in that state our brains apparently show greater activity when in resting states than when we’re doing a brain-demanding task!
Let that sink in for a moment. The brain is actually more active when you take a walk than when you’re doing your taxes.
And that means what for the creativity we writers all need to come up with that next great idea, the next blockbuster script or best-selling novel?
Your brain usually wanders when you’re in the shower or drifting off to sleep or maybe cooking or just daydreaming because you’re not focusing on what you’re doing. That, in turn turns on the part of our brains that leads to genius ideas.
(You’ll note I said “genius” ideas here – we’ve all had them, right? So now we have an idea as to why.)
So the goal would seem to be to daydream more. So why don’t we? Well, the world is a busy place. Everyone seems to think being ‘busy’ is best. Busyness and efficiency are prized. If we’re beginning as a creative writer odds are we have a job – and at that job we’re busy. People are proud of the many work hours they put in. All of that blocks out the creativity to a great extent.
Even if we don’t have a job in addition to writing it’s possible we remain so fixed on a project, so determined to organize and finish it that we’re actually tripping ourselves up. Do you take the time to just sit and daydream or are you focusing and ‘working’ at coming up with ideas?
I’m a great proponent of taking walks. And, walking is one great way to disengage and let the mind wander. So after you’ve worked hard, at whatever you’ve been doing, perhaps a short walk to relax and allow our unconscious start churning up those brilliant ideas.
Even fifteen minutes at the end of each day walking or simply sitting and thinking to ourselves will allow the unconscious the ‘elbow room’ it needs to start things flowing.
I think what this is telling us is we need to take stock of our lives and slow down a bit. Take the stairs. Don’t get on the phone when you drive. Don’t sit at your desk to eat lunch. Take a deep breath.
Now go take a walk. You know it’s good for your body. Now you know it’s good for your brain as well. Daydream. Let your brain wander down some unexplored trails.
Don’t let our current society trick you into believing you’re ‘sloughing off’, that you’re not as ‘productive’. Not true.
You’re treading the path toward creative genius.
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her sensational career HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.