“To measure eccentricity [the attributed “mark of the creative mind], researchers often use scales that assess schizotypal personality.” (ScientificAmerica)
April 27, 2011
After reading the article in Scientific America where in essence an unleashed mind = eccentricity = creativity, I decided to document some of my own thought processes. Schizotypal personality…what does that mean? Apparently, I am lacking certain filters for my brain. Okay. I’ll buy that. I guess I haven’t been recognized by my nieces and nephews as the “eccentric aunt” without reason. I figured maybe I’d get a better handle on those thought filters and tell you the way my brain works in secret instead of letting it all spill out so the rest of the world knows I’m crazy.
I am not paranoid or delusional. They say Dickens had the paranoid belief that characters from his books followed him around. That’s just crazy talk. Okay…so there was that episode where I read back over what I’d written in one of my manuscripts and found that my characters had unknowingly taken a totally different direction than what I had painstakingly plotted.
But hey…After my outburst of “No…no…NO! You guys are sooo not doing this to me…,” I put the manuscript away for a year. I think that showed a strong measure of control. When I pulled it back out a year later and re-read it…Okay so does it make me crazy or them, if I admit that I finally got it and they were right, I was wrong?
Now I’ve learned to just “go with the flow.” See? I’m not paranoid. I actually trust my characters to do right by me, and now even follow their lead. A fine demonstration of adaptability if you ask me.
A Note on Creative Flow:
Regardless of whether the world views you as “crazy” or “eccentric”, the process of creative production can be as easy or as difficult as you allow it to be. If you are the typical uber-creative type, you generally have a bazillion ideas floating around your mind in various bits and pieces. Do what works for you to get them out—no two minds work identically, and what works for someone else may not work for you.
I tend to let pieces infiltrate my brain from a myriad of different sources. Eventually I hit that “eureka” or “aha” moment where pieces that may have been floating around my brain for years finally fit together to jumpstart a new project or idea. Once that happens, I just can’t seem to get it out fast enough. I wrote my young adult novel of 100k words in just under 3 months. I wrote the first Broken Wings novel of 80k words in about 6 weeks.
One thing that seems to be almost universal is that once you stop the flow, it creates blocks—writer’s block, missing muse, lack of vision, etc. I came out of a two year block to currently finishing up two separate novels, starting a screenplay for my first young adult book, planning a video shoot, in the middle of recording a song, and…well, you get the idea. It was like having gotten a dose of Exlax for the creative flow.
Two years is a long time to be stymied in the creative process. For me, the unleashed mind is just that…it needs to be free to flow or it can have a negative effect on your whole psyche! So my advice is to do whatever it takes to keep those creative fires banked and burning steady. Here are some ideas that either I use, or have heard from other creative types, and seem very common:
- Record any and all thoughts that come to mind.
Some people carry notebooks, index cards, digital recorders…or even call their voice mail/answering machines in order to hold that thought!
- Write, write, write.
(or play, play, play as a musician; snap, snap snap as a photographer, shoot, shoot, shoot that video…you get the idea). It doesn’t matter if you think it’s crap. You may never use it, or it may evolve into a different idea, plot, melody, whatever, somewhere down the road. The first novel I ever wrote…25+ years ago…(total crap is what I thought when I looked at it a few years later) actually had a good storyline that I’m fully rewriting as the second book in a series, where it fits beautifully. You just never know.
- Join a Group.
In your area of creativity, whether locally, online, etc. Bounce ideas back and forth with other creative types in your medium. Realize in this case that taste is subjective and take what you need from it. Be very attuned to the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. Creative support groups are another avenue. Sometimes it helps when you feel a little less alone in your frustration and insanity.
There are many varied ways to get the creative flow moving. Find what works for you. Get going…what are you waiting for?