Monday, August 3, 2009

mind stimuli

I've noticed that lately I've not been spending as much time on Facebook or Twitter. Some of this is because of all the course preparations I've been immersed in (which has been a surprisingly positive experience). It's also that point in the summer where sluggishness is inevitable.

I've also noticed that, as a result, my book sales have slipped a bit. I also noticed that my dry spell in terms of writing (I'm talking creative writing)and imagination has also crossed over to Facebook and Twitter in that I can't think of a single witty status update, or any status update (why that matters is reserved for another post).

So, I've been thinking about ways to stimulate my creative energies by thinking about those things that stimulate my mind. I've been playing certain kinds of music (studies show that Baroque music positively correlates with study skills and creativity), limiting my tv and internet time, reading certain books in smaller increments, visualizing positive outcomes, and imagining conversations with my mentors and inspirations. (Notice I left off chocolate and pop tarts. I've been focusing on less addictive stimluli. Fill in the vice of your choice.)

And lo and behold, it's working!

Most of the writing I did this weekend was private journaling. I wrote until my hand hurt, and the result was not only an epiphany late last night, but little bursts of ideas along the way -- idea for a bit of dialogue, for a new course, for a painting, etc. Nice. (How I'm going to channel that back into specific projects or book promotions remains to be seen. But it'll come.)

So my advice for you who find yourselves sluggish and dragging, be it physically or creatively, is to think about what stimulates your mind, and turn your attention to those things rather than to all the writing you're not doing and think you should be.

And please, share some with us. What stimulates your mind?


Elspeth Antonelli said...


I think some of the problem is that you cannot (or I certainly cannot) turn on creativity like a tap. This becomes frustrating when you've blocked out time to write, sit down and then realize that unbeknown to you, someone has replaced your brain with a large bowl of cooling oatmeal.

I read classics. Jane Austen is wonderful. Her rhythms are so unlike mine that I find it soothing.

I also troll the net. I read the board. I think it's just a way to remind myself that others are out there, even if they're not sharing my oxygen. I will also turn up the classical radio station that I listen to while on the computer. Music soothes the savage beast and all that.

If the oatmeal now has turned into a grey sludge I will leave the computer and go bake. Or do laundry. Everything still bubbles, I just find that sometimes it needs to bubble unwatched.

Hope some of this makes sense!

Elisa said...

Nice -- poetic, too!
Thanks for sharing, Beth. :)

Sarah said...

car rides. more specifically, driving stimulates my mind. i've written some of my best poems in the car, i've birthed some of my favorite ideas on long stretches of road, and i've ached for a camera or sketch pad on countless corners.

sure, there's other stuff (markers and blank/unlined sheets of paper...especially large sheets of newsprint, early mornings when i'm well-rested and the only one awake, favorite works of artists and authors that make me want to create, and so on) but the only one of these that's fairly predictable is car rides. (i think it stems from having to entertain myself in cars for 6 hours every other weekend for as long as i can remember.) case and point: writing the ending of WILS in the car. :)

so...whatchya been workin on?? ;)