11 October, 2010

Cleaning and Creativity

Cleaning day is a very dangerous day.

After taking Silmë for a walk (okay, drive), during which I picked up business cards from my favorite dealer and got reassured I'd made an excellent car-buying choice, I decided it's time to excavate the house.  And yes, I do mean excavate.  Part of this enterprise involved vacuuming.  My vacuum cleaner didn't survive the experience.  I've known for a while the ol' motor wasn't what it used to be, and today, it told me to fuck off while it died.  Well, at least it did that after I'd finished the carpets.  It's been a good and loyal vacuum for a good many years, and it was just its time.

Then I had to iron my curtains, because when I washed them, they got all wonky.  One looked much longer than the other.  This wasn't right.

So I've been off the intertoobz for a good proportion of the day, and right now all I want to do is put my bed back together and stay in it for a few days.  But there's an interesting post I felt it necessary to highlight: "How to Trick Yourself Creative."  It seems people actually study this stuff, and here are some conclusions:

However, in terms of the science, here's what I can offer:
  • Longer periods of preparation beget longer periods of incubation;
  • When solving linguistic problems (making sense of a given set of information) engaging in tasks with a low cognitive demand is most effective in generating insight during incubation;
    High congitive demand tasks during incubation are not facilitative;
  • When solving creative problems, it seems engaging in a wide information search (during incubation) is most effective; and
  • When a problem has a limited set of solutions, information search may not be facilitative; Incubation most benefits 'divergent thinking'*, followed by linguistic tasks, followed by visual tasks (like mental rotations)
So I do not want to hear a single fucking snarky comment the next time I am blocked and doing things like building Japanese villages out of toothpicks instead of writing.  That falls under the "tasks with a low cognitive demand" category, m'kay?  And if anybody gives me shit over those endless rambles through Google and reference books, I shall hit them over the head with a rolled-up copy of the above post.  Fair warning.

I'm turning the floor over to you, my darlings.  What do you do when your creativity needs a good boost?


Chris said...

Taking your question seriously here.

I'm not a Christian - or for that matter a believer in any religion. But I sometimes attend a particular Christian church and find myself intellectually stimulated by the sermons. As a matter of fact I've constructed, while listening to the minister, some of my most favorite writings.

RBH said...

In the summer I get on the tractor and mow. The combination of the sound of the tractor's engine, the warm breeze, and the sheer repetitiveness of the turns as one mows induces a sort of stupor out of which occasionally come good ideas.