Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting Out More

The Gate in the Rocks- 1818--Karl Friedrich Schinkel--1781-1841 I’d posted last week on my need for a little downtime to fire up my creativity.

I think a lot of us are in the same boat, juggling family and job responsibilities while trying to write at the same time.

And don’t even get us started on social media and internet distractions, right?

Funnily enough, an article with some suggestions for handling this problem was posted on Wow—Women on Writing a couple of days ago—and I was quoted in the article! So apparently I’ve forgotten some of my own advice. :) The author of the article had written to me in early June and interviewed me for the story. One of the things I mentioned doing was getting out of the house and away from the distractions of home.

For a psychological standpoint, the author interviewed Dr. Shelley Carson, an adjunct at Harvard who wrote a book on creativity.

She explained that while distractions (especially of the online variety) can cause stress and prevent creativity, that writers and other creative people are actually naturally attracted to distractions because:

highly creative people are biologically rewarded when they discover something new. It may be subtle, but it is enough to encourage us to seek out novelty.

I also found it interesting that Dr. Carson mentioned that creatives are “mentally disinhibited:”

In short, our ability to make connections where others may not is part of what makes us good writers.

I’ve always thought it was interesting to hear writers’ observations. It’s because we can have the same exact experience as other people, but get insights that others don’t.

What I take from these different statements about being creative?

That I should get out more. :)

Lately, I’ve been out only while taking the children somewhere, or while running brief errands. Other than that, I’ve been spending more time at home trying to catch up.

Instead, it sounds like I should be returning to my familiar writing haunts—discovering new people (which is a “good” form of distraction for writers), getting new ideas, and making those connections that we “mentally disinhibited” are supposed to be making.

So I think I may divide up my writing time this week—spend half of it at home and half at either the coffeehouse or the library.

Have you needed to change up your writing routine a little lately? Do you usually write at home or while you’re out?