Happy Friday everyone! For today’s #SoulfulFriday guest posts I’m really excited to introduce Annalisa Parent from The Date With The Muse, and today she is talking about one of my all time favourite topics…creativity! And particularly creativity in writing.
Annalisa is a very inspiring lady, helping other writers to bring their creative dreams into reality. She’s going to be presenting at the Writer’s Digest Annual Convention in NYC later this year, and to celebrate she’s giving away a free ticket! Read on to find out more and how to enter….
There are a lot of ideas out there that creativity only belongs to “creative types” such as Dickens, DaVinci or Debussy.
Thank goodness this is just a myth. Creativity is something any person can access at any time — for painting, sculpting, writing? Sure. But for problem solving of any kind — cooking, engineering, or a roadside repair to get you home.
What is creativity?
Creativity is initiating, activating & implementing ideas that are original, unusual, useful or innovative. The ideas may advance an exciting concept, or seemingly spring forth from nowhere ~ Doreen Marcial Poreba
Sometimes creativity does “Seemingly spring forth from nowhere” as Poreba writes, but we can also coax ourselves into the state of flow — a state of permission, a state of simply being and creating without question.
The brain, as you likely know, is made up of two hemispheres with a big old canyon running down the middle. (Scientific terms may or may not be used in this article.) At some point in the 80s, people started talking about left-brained and right-brained people. “I cannot get organized. I’m just too left-brained.” or “Art isn’t my thing. I’m just too right-brained.”
Now, there is a measure of truth to this statement, analogous to this example: feet are for walking. Yes. Absolutely. They are also for running, skipping, jumping, hiking, swimming… you get the idea. They have a function, but it’s not limited to walking. In the same way, it is true that there are some centers that sit primarily on one side of the brain or the other.
However, the brain is far more complex. When we see someone we love or smell a flower, it’s not just one teeny spot in the brain that gets stimulated, but many areas simultaneously. (Think the lights on the Christmas tree, not the star on top.) In other words BOTH hemispheres are at work. A healthy brain maintains communication between these two hemispheres.
How can we capitalize on that as seekers of the Muse? Think of a line that splits your body in two from your head to the floor. We call that line the midline. Any time we cross the midline, we send information, a synapse, from one hemisphere to the other. Zing Zing Zing. We’re priming the pump, getting the brain at the ready for some quality thinking.
So when we sing a song and point our arms across the midline, (as I asked the participants to do at a recent talk on accessing our most creative selves), not only is it a silly good time, it’s activating the foundation of our brain’s functioning. We’re creating a nest for creativity.
When I chose the name of my company “Date with the Muse” I wanted a title that encompassed two main components: time and creativity. Some people already have a ritual to set aside the time to create. My workshops, classes, and retreats offer that time set aside, a date. What we do on these dates is help jumpstart your creativity.
So, what are some of the simple steps you can take at home to jumpstart your creativity now?
1) Exercise. The author on a walk in the countryside is a cliche as old as the hills. How did it become cliche? It works. When we exercise, we give oxygen to the brain, which increases the firing of synapses and its overall functioning.
Uplevel it by swinging your arms to cross the midline. Your neighbors might talk, but you’ll be doubling your efforts.
2) Breathe. Talk about cliche, right? No, really. Deep breathing brings oxygen to our brains. For even more benefit, stand while doing it. Now we’ve got blood flow and oxygen flooding that brain with positive creativity starters.
3) Laugh. Remember how joy and creativity overlap in the brain? Stimulating joy helps stimulate creativity too.
4) Your brain seeks novelty. Take a risk. If you’re a poet, set a twenty-minute timer and write and essay. If you’re an essayist, write a poem. See what happens.
5) Give yourself permission to flop. FLOP leads to FLOW.
Runners warm up. NFL players warm up. Why aren’t you? Give yourself a twenty-minute warm up to get in the zone. What you write in the warm up may be a FLOP. No problem, because the point of it was to lead us to FLOW.
Harnessing the knowledge behind the last decade of research in brain function can be a powerful tool to helping you become your best creative self.
Annalisa Parent operates Date With The Muse, LLC, a writing studio for writers looking to start, finish, and bring to publication works in all genres. She specializes in helping writers implement researched techniques to enter writing flow. See more and subscribe for weekly prompts and techniques at Date With The Muse
Annalisa is offering a free ticket, worth a whopping $499 in value, to the Writer’s Digest Annual Convention, taking place in New York City this August. This 3 day conference has everything you need to advance creatively and professionally as a writer.