Wow, did I learn a lot about myself with this book, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire. I actually listened to this book the first time a month or so ago, but I'm listening again... as I create this summer.
Here are some of my takeaways...
I have a messy mind. Yep, that's how this book describes a creative brain... messy. That really is a true statement. There is so much chatter going on in this head that there is no way to get it all out or act on every idea. This was right away in the book, it talked about people who are highly motivated by their activities. Again, yes, that's me. I'm often asked why I put my heart and soul into Art Education... I guess this is it. I love it, I'm highly motivated to create, and this makes me happy.
The authors suggest that we might want to rethink Thomas Edison's famous quote, "Genius is1% inspiration and 99% persperation" they called this quote a 'gross simplification'. Inspiration and preparation play an equal role. People who are passionate about their job put in more perspiration.
One of my favorite chapters was about daydreaming. For those of you who follow my Instagram account you recently saw my notes from my training in mindfulness and Yoga Calm. Our district has a Mindfulness/Yoga Calm employee. She trains staff and students on how to calm, deal with anxiety, and find a balance in life. I have wanted to go to training for over a year and finally made time to do so. This chapter on daydreaming challenges some of the ideas that Mindfulness introduces.
Wired to Create suggests that daydreaming is an invaluable tool to find out what we think and feel. Daydreaming is considered to be 'thought intrusion', 'undirected thought', and 'mind wondering'... All somewhat negative connotations. This book suggests just the opposite, it says, "Not all minds that wander are lost." I love this idea. The book does not deny that mind wandering can be harmful when the goal is to focus on things such as reading comprehension. It does challenge mindful practices. To be mindful, it is suggested to put out all other thoughts. But in this book, it suggests that if one does so, and doesn't let their mind wonder, the creative muscle will weaken and may dimish over time.
Another chapter that really struck me was a chapter on the idea of solitude. In a world of constant social interaction, our culture views a person who enjoys solitude to be an antisocial person. I would not consider myself to be that at all... but boy, do I love my alone time. Susan Cain, the author of, Quiet: the Power of Introvert in a world that Can't Stop Talking is mentioned in this book due to her Quiet Revolution. Quiet Revolution is an online website that advocates for Quiet in the day for employees and students who may need that time/space in their lives for creativity. This is so, so true. I miss quiet in my life. I remind myself that there will be a day that I may wish all the noise in my life to be there again, but at this point with young kids and 800ish students in my room in a week... I love a break.
This book made me feel normal for craving that, for wanting quiet, and time to think. For wanting to daydream and having a messy mind. It made me understand that I don't have to suppress my thoughts and feelings... Rather, as suggested by a good friend, embrace what makes you, you. Don't wish it away.