But then I heard a couple of tidbits this summer--both about our brains--that got me 1) amazed and 2) reflective.
The amazed part first. Everyone's had the experience of trying to remember an author's name, the title of a movie you saw decades ago, the name of a former neighbor. You can't retrieve it right away, so you set it aside, knowing that at some point the information will just appear. Sometimes it happens in the middle of another conversation with a different person, hours later. The name/title suddenly blasts into your brain, and you can't help yourself: you blurt it out immediately because you're so surprised.
Well, what I didn't know (Did you?) is even though we discontinue searching the recesses of our brain for the information, our brain doesn't stop. All the while that we're doing other things, no longer concerned with trying to remember what that Viggo Mortensen movie was called, our brain continues to try and solve the puzzle. Behind the scenes, it's working the whole time.
Which works for writing, too. There are occasions when I have a plot/organization problem with a writing project, and it suddenly bursts forth into my consciousness.
And now, the tidbit that made me reflective. This summer I heard about a TED talk/challenge/book about being bored. The premise is we're always checking our email/Facebook/Insta-twitter-chat-whatever. Our phones/tablets/screens are attached to us via a regrown umbilical cord. We're checking them so often, we aren't being creative.
To be truly creative or problem-solving, we need the quiet and inactivity that boredom affords us.
For me, it's definitely not the phone but I do check my blog more often than I should, along with my email. (I don't really do Facebook or anything else social-media.) And I watch too much TV as I'm simultaneously working on a writing project... or so I try and convince myself.
This Ted Talk by Manoush Zomorodi is entertaining and fascinating and educational. I've tried to make this post as succinct as possible, so you'll be willing to take the time to watch it... and consider getting bored on a regular basis.
How about you? Are you willing to curtail your phone/Facebook/email/blog checking to just once or twice a day for a week? You just might find your creativity explodes in the vacuum created by boredom...
Sioux Roslawski is going to stop watching reruns of her favorite shows. She's also going to limit her blog and email-checking to twice a day... so she can make some genuine headway on her WIP/manuscript/gonna-be-a-book-someday project. If you'd like to read more of her stuff (seriously, are you a glutton for punishment?) check out her blog.