Archives for June, 2011

Creative Thinking

On The Couch for More Creativity – Part 2

{ Continued from Part 1 }

Releasing psychic tension

In their book The Psychology of Creative Writing, Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD and James C. Kaufman, PhD write, "Artists may not be aware of what is troubling them.

"Csikszentmihalyi put it this way: 'The impressions artists work with come from many sources. One that is very prevalent among contemporary painters contains memories of childhood.

"Whether the viewer realizes it or not, and often also unbeknown to the artist, the images that form the core of a great number of modern works represent the rage or the ecstasy of childhood which the artist tries to recapture in order to integrate it into current experience…

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Creative Thinking

On The Couch for More Creativity – Part 1

"The unconscious is our best collaborator."

Director Mike Nichols, referring to making movies, also said "Time is so short - because it is so expensive - that we tend to neglect the place from which the best ideas come, namely that part of ourselves that dreams." [AARP Magazine Jan/Feb 2004]

Over the years since it was developed by Freud, psychoanalysis has been fodder for many jokes and dismissive ideas about the value of therapy and even psychology in general.

But many writers and other artists choose the experience of analysis and other forms of psychotherapy as a way to both become healthier and to better access their creative selves.

[Photo from Facebook site for HBO series In Treatment.]

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Slower Nerve Traffic, More Creativity

Neuroscientist Rex Jung notes “Creativity is a complex concept; it’s not a single thing.”

That quote comes from a recent New York Times article, which comments that one of his studies "suggests that creativity prefers to take a slower, more meandering path than intelligence."

“The brain appears to be an efficient superhighway that gets you from Point A to Point B” when it comes to intelligence, Dr. Jung explained.

“But in the regions of the brain related to creativity, there appears to be lots of little side roads with interesting detours, and meandering little byways.”

The article adds, "Although intelligence and skill are generally associated with the fast and efficient firing of neurons, subjects who tested high in creativity had thinner white matter and connecting axons that have the effect of slowing nerve traffic in the brain.

"This slowdown in the left frontal cortex, a region where emotional and cognitive abilities are integrated, Dr. Jung suggested, “might allow for the linkage of more disparate ideas, more novelty and more creativity.”

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Creative Thinking

Collecting and Creativity

Collecting stuff – both physically and mentally – can fuel our creative work and motivation.

Acclaimed painter Mark Ryden says, “In the same spirit as those earlier collectors filling their cabinets of curiosities, I feel compelled to collect quite a variety of things. I draw artistic inspiration from the treasures I find at the flea market.”

He continues, "I like old toys, books, photographs, anatomical models, stuffed animals, skeletons, religious statues, and vintage paper ephemera.

"I often find archetypes in old children’s books and toys, so these things make up a large part of my collection. I am attracted to things that evoke memories from childhood."

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Creative Thinking

Developing Creativity and Innovation in Business

Business may thrive on innovation, but there is also some research on the perception that leaders should not be "too" creative.

Entrepreneur and coach Katie Freiling declares, "Your business is your art… And you are the artist, the creator. Everything you do as an entrepreneur, whether it’s writing, speaking, coming up with innovative ideas, etc… is sourced from your creativity."

From post (with video) A Powerful Strategy To Unleash Your Creative Genius.

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In his article How to Inspire Creativity in Your Business (Success Magazine, republished by Rembor & Partners), creative thinking author and consultant Michael Gelb comments, "Thomas Edison is the best example for those who wish to nurture the spirit of innovation in an organization.

"More than the light bulb, phonograph and motion picture camera, Edison’s greatest invention was the process of systematic innovation.

"He created the world’s first research and development laboratory and was the first to link R & D with production, manufacturing, marketing and sales."

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Creative Thinking

I Want To Do It All: Creative Polymathy

“I want to do wardrobe. I want to do hair. I want to do makeup. I want to do writing. I want to do directing. And I want to do producing. I want to do all of it. I like it.“ Abigail Breslin

Breslin shares that kind of ambitious passion with many other people blessed - and challenged - with multiple creative talents.

Her films include Signs (at age 5), Little Miss Sunshine, Nim's Island, and Zombieland. Her credits on the movie database are still for acting - but then, she is only 15 and has plenty of time to develop her other interests.

The Wikipedia List of people who have been called "polymaths" has a fascinating variety of names throughout history, including, of course Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) - "the prototype of the universal genius, the 'Renaissance man'… a prodigious polymath."

In his post That’s DR. Winnie to you: A New Child Star Stereotype, creativity researcher James C. Kaufman, Ph.D. writes about a number of well-known child stars, now grown up, who have explored talents outside of acting.

He writes: “One of the research topics in creativity that has always fascinated me has been creative polymathy – the ability to be creative in more than one domain."

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Creative Thinking

Novelist Faye Kellerman on Creative Expression as a Job

"Writing is not so much a creative endeavor, but more or less like a job."

Faye Kellerman's book The Ritual Bath (1986) won the Macavity Award for the Best First Novel from the Mystery Readers of America.

She has written many other titles since, including the New York Times Bestseller "Double Homicide," written with her husband Jonathan Kellerman, and the young adult novel "Prism" written with her daughter Aliza Kellerman.

In our interview, Faye Kellerman commented, "Creativity expresses itself. I don't think we find a way to express the energy. The energy can come out in a physical form, such as running, some sort of athletic kind of thing, or other ways."

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Acting On Our Creativity

"When you begin to act on your creativity, what you find inside may be more valuable than what you produce for the external world."
That quote from the book "Claiming Your Creative Self" by Eileen M. Clegg is a reminder that creativity is an exploration of our psyche, our inner selves; it isn't just about being identified as an "artist" producing a "work of art."

In "The Woman's Book of Creativity" author C Diane Ealy, Ph.D. notes she's been listening to women talk about their creative process for years. Her comments could of course also apply to us men.

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Creative Thinking

Shelley Carson on Brainsets and Creativity

Creativity researcher Shelley Carson, PhD uses the idea of 'brain set' as a take-off on 'mind set' in her book Your Creative Brain.

Speaking with David Van Nuys, Ph.D. for another of his excellent Shrink Rap Radio podcast interviews, she explains more about these aspects of brain and mind.

She wants people to realize from her book that "you can train yourself to be more creative" and know "there's so much change going on now that really we need to be creative, not just to keep up but if we want to actually make a difference and help shape the world of the future."

Her model of brain sets is summarized with the acronym CREATES, each letter referring to one of seven different brain states.

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