I’ve often wondered how people can do ‘structured’ creative thinking and come up with ideas on demand, because I find that my inspiration comes when I least expect it and when I’m nowhere near a pen to write things down – like when I’m driving, washing my hair, or brushing my teeth.
If someone demanded a brilliant idea from me at knifepoint I doubt I’d be able to deliver, because creative thought somehow deserts me when I’m under pressure.
I admit my first reaction to hearing about singer-of-the-moment Adele writing her soaraway successful album 21 while under the influence of booze was one of disbelief: firstly, that someone so talented needs to drink (the shadow of Amy Winehouse loomed large in my mind), and secondly, that she could so coolly and publicly admit to it.
Except when I read beyond The Sun headline of ‘Booze helps Adele write songs‘, I realised there was more to it than just downing a bottle of wine and churning out indulgently booze-fuelled lyrics.
What it turns out the singer had done was bypass her inner critic – with all its angst and murderous intentions towards a newly born idea, thought or tune – with the anaesthetising effects of alcohol. Without that switch into another part of herself, the bitter-sweet unexpectedness of her number-one songs may never have Continue reading →
I’m not the only writer who infuses her fiction with the shadowy elements of her psyche.
Who knows what can emerge from the shadows of the unconscious?
I’ve just read an interview with thriller writer Mo Hayder – winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library 2011 award – where she says her writing helps her deal with the darkness in her mind. By fictionalising what terrifies her most, she is able to allay the intensity of her fears.
Psychoanalytic theory suggests that characters in novels are all projections of the author’s anxieties, neuroses and inner conflicts which the author him/herself may not be fully conscious of. It is this unconscious element that Continue reading →
The end of a holiday evokes feelings of loss. (pic credit: Streetek)
Coming to the end of my holiday and, like any ending, it brings up feelings of loss, wistfulness; of wishing, perhaps, that I’d appreciated my time more: lived it more, felt it more, maybe. Perhaps I could have absorbed the beautiful countryside more enthusiastically, visited the sights more engagingly, and appreciated the reassuring sway and swagger of the boat more wholeheartedly.
As I sail to the end of my holiday, and reflect on just how productive I’ve been with my writing, thinking, creating and planning, I discover that holidays are brilliant for boosting creativity.
Writing in the August 2011 issue of The Psychologist, Christian Jarrett’s article Wish you were here? examines the psychology of holidays. He says that creativity can emerge when ‘unshackled from the constraints of work and stress’ – in spite of all the frustration that can occur when getting ready to go on holiday.
The only challenge is that this boost to creativity is only temporary, and the effect quickly fades once we return home and are swept back into the quotidian demands on our time in what’s called the ‘fade-out’ effect. Thankfully, however, scientists are working on how to extend that post-holiday glow.
I fully intend to extend mine once I get back home.
I LOVE to hear about writers making it big by being persistent and brave, and not taking no for an answer.
So I was delighted to read in the Evening Standard about an author who self-published her novel digitally, and sold it for 95p on Kindle. Louise Voss proceeeded to promote her novel, Catch Your Death, relentlessly via social networking, propelling it to the top of the Kindle charts. Her success caught the attention of HarperFiction, which gave her and her writing partner Mark Edwards a six-figure deal.
What an inspiring story. This has turned traditional publishing on its head, and shows that a well-written, compelling book with an author driven, focused and prepared to promote it CAN achieve starry success.