Thursday, April 12, 2012
Which is not all that unusual for a writer, actually -- at Viable Paradise, we knitters circled up and stitched while we chatted.
It's long been known that simple, repetitive tasks can ease one into a meditative state. Meditation has a long history, of course, and is held up by both mystically inclined people and a growing number of researchers as a way to reduce stress and maintain health. One's brain waves shift, while meditating, from task-oriented beta waves to the relaxed, attentive theta and alpha waves.
IME (and I'm sure I'm not alone) this is where creativity flows easily. It's a free-associative stream of thought where my characters can speak freely and we can try out ideas and their consequences. Thoughts bump up against each other, merge, and split up in new ways.
When it comes down to it, all the writing "crutches" that I have (music, alcohol, my starting-to-write habits) are geared toward dropping me into that theta and alpha state where I can see the story and hear the characters. And like crutches, or training wheels, with long practice I've gotten better about dropping into that state with less help. This is why writers have a reputation of being absent-minded and distracted, I suppose.
We all know what it feels like when you can't get to that theta-wave state.
Once you're good enough at knitting (or crochet -- I do that too) that your autopilot can do most of the stitching, it's a good inducer of that meditative state. I keep small projects by my computer and work on them when I need to resolve some sticky point.
I have a surplus of potholders, hand towels and lap blankets around the house, but hey...
What are your creative inducers?