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Acumen: Issue 56

Published by Acumen

ISBN: 9780964030459

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Remember the old joke of how a creative writer had to try and convince people he was working when, to them, all he was doing was staring out of the window?  Puzzle no longer, scribblers - science has the answer.

It has been shown that creativitiy has two stages: inspiration and elaboration, each characterised by very different states of mind.  While writers are thinking up their creations (ie. staring out of the window!) the brain appears to be in a very relaxed state with alpha wave activity only, the conscious mind being quiet while the brain makes its creative connections 'behind the scenes' so to speak.

However, once a writer starts to work on his creation, to write it down, to elaborate, these alpha waves drop off and the brain shows activity in a more normal manner.  But, and this is the interesting point, the brain is working just as hard in both states.

Practical example: a poet in hospital, attached to electrodes monitoring his heart beat and other functions.  Bored with lying in bed, he begins to think about the other patients, getting inspiration from his surroundings. Having worked out a poem in his mind, he, very quietly and slowly, takes up his noebook and begins to jot down his thoughts.

Immediately there is a rush of nurses from the central control room. 'What are you doing?' they demand, checking his pulse and heart-rate. 'Just jotting down some thoughts,' he replied. 'Then don't. it's disturbing you.'  Good job they weren't measuring his alpha waves as well as his heart rate - they would have probably told him not even to think!

So, readers of Acumen, keep on staring out of the window; keep that inspiration flowing.  And once you've worked out what you want to say, let the brain find new pathways, new connections across both its hemispheres, left and right.  Then you will definitely have a very new creation.

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