Monday, June 4, 2012


I read an interesting article about creativity and the way the brain makes connections over the weekend.  It got me thinking because so many of the examples given in the article were things I recognized from my own creative life.

Apparently there is a small part of your brain that activates when you are making connections between things in a less controlled way, almost subconsciously.  And that tiny part of your brain is where the flashes of genius come from.  And it only works if you let the more rational part of your brain rest.

For example, have you ever given up trying to nut out a plot problem and gone to take a shower or bath instead, only to have the answer to that problem crystalize in your head?  Yeah.  That.  That's what's happening.  It has something to do with letting go and doing something that you enjoy.

And it makes sense.  When you're doing something you enjoy (taking a long walk in the sunshine, lying in a hot bubble bath), you relax and your brain stops whirring at 95 miles an hour.  It's in this calm patch that the various threads of thought you've had, can synthesize and become something new and wonderful.

Have you ever had flashes of brilliance like this?


  1. Totally; and thank God for 'em! Was that an online article you read (and if so, would you please post the link)?
    Some Dark Romantic

  2. It wasn't online. It was in a New Zealand magazine called The Listener.

  3. So why do I figure out plot problems when I do the dishes? That's not enjoyable, but my mind goes away and ponders things. Still can't get a handle on my next ms plot though. Apparently, I have to do more dishes. A lot more...

    1. I guess it's any moment your mind is freed from being forced into a certain direction. Plus, hot water, maybe? Apparently hot water on your skin releases dopamine, so doing dishes might actually be more pleasurable than you think.