And while this graphic seems awfully linear and neatly organized, any of you creative types know that this process can be messy and wild. I think that’s how it’s “supposed” to be. The graphic is really for the logical side of your brain. I was going to say “right brain,” but new research is ditching the whole left brain | right brain paradigm in favor of looking at how complex neural networks function collectively. Scott Barry Kaufman, scientific director of the Imagination Institute, explains it well: “The entire creative process consists of many interacting cognitive processes (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions. Depending on the stage, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task.”
So creativity involves the whole brain, not just the right side, and requires the interaction of three neural networks. One, the Attention network. This is the the super productive network and chances are great that if you use a computer for your work, you’ll be sitting in front of it for this part. In my creative process graphic, the attention network is definitely active during the elaboration phase, and likely during the saturation phase too though a lot of divergent thinking can happen there too.
Then there’s The Imagination network
(aka the default mode network), where your mind wanders and unexpected creative possibilities bubble to the surface. If we are looking at this model of the creative process, the imagination network is definitely activated during the incubation and illumination phases, when you may be engaged in another activity but your subconscious is still noodling with your creative project in the background.
To access the Imagination network, you need to find a way to stop
focusing on solving the creative problem, and take the attention
off yourself too. Low-grade physical activity works best, according to
studies, but exactly what that activity is depends on the individual.
The idea is to take your foot off the gas and see what arises when
Wouldn’t it be amazing if a whole day magically opened up on your calendar, and from beginning to end you could devote yourself exclusively to that one awesome idea?
Man, that sounds like heaven to me. And from my experience as a writer and coach, I know I’m not alone. It seems like whether or not your job is creative, there’s this longing for time and space to do your thing(s). That was the insight that got me all fired up to develop 8 to Create: a day-long immersive experience that blends 90 minute stretches of solo work sessions with short breaks designed to inspire, and also provide creativity hacks for when the muse goes missing.
(Read more about it here)
I’m doing 8 to Create for myself, my clients and for anyone else who wants to gain some real momentum on their project. It’s an experiment, a work in progress, and I’d love to know how this all strikes you personally. Interested?
If so, what’s the project you’d want to spend time on during the 8 hour event?
What kind of information | interaction | experience do you think you’d crave between solo work sessions?
Weekend day or weekday?
I’ve got a vision, but before I execute, I want to hear your thoughts. So, thank you for being my creative partner! With your input, I’m looking forward to making 8-to-Create into an inspiring, productive, monthly experience where we can all turn our best ideas into something beautiful and real.
Laurie Shiers is an LA -based writer, coach and experience junky on a quest to find meaning in the mayhem.