I had plans for my first post of 2021, but my brain seems to be off on a frolic of its own. Whether I’m asleep, cooking, tapping at my laptop, or walking around Hampstead Heath, my gray matter is in Caldermor, mulling over Annis, Daire, and my new WIP. Not working out specific plot points, just noodling around what kind of people they are, what they want in their deepest, most private selves, why there would be a deep/unique connection between them, and what would make a true HEA for their love story.
I get this distracted feeling from time to time, and I’ve learned from experience that when it happens, I should relax and give my subconscious free rein. I’m reassured by the idea that creative incubation appears to have some scientific basis 😉 .
Nancy Andreasen is a leading neuroscientist and psychiatrist at the University of Iowa whose specialty is research into the creative mind. She was originally a professor in the English Department, and her research was partly informed by her proximity to the talented writers participating in the famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
I’ve linked before to her one-hour Aspen Ideas presentation titled “Secrets of the Creative Brain,” but not since 2017. I revisited it today and thought it an hour well spent, so I’m sharing it again.
Among many other things, Ms. Andreasen says that there are four stages in the creative process:
- Stage 1, Preparation: the assimilation of basic information to build on.
- Stage 2, Incubation: a relaxed time when connections are made, often unconsciously.
- Stage 3, Inspiration: the Eureka! Moment
- Stage 4, Production: putting the insights or concepts into a useful form, or something that can be communicated to others.
I need to get The Seeds of Exile into Production soon, so I’m hoping all this Incubation will lead to Inspiration. I’ll keep you posted 😉 .
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and creatively satisfying 2021.
See you next Sunday!
I think I go through all these but not in a linear fashion. Or maybe it’s linear but recursive.
Maybe it’s because I try to rush the incubation stage that I wind up dropping projects and picking them back up after some time has passed.
I recognize all these stages, but sometimes (always?) at frustrating intervals, or without realizing why I’m not “making progress,” or whatever. Good to have this reminder! And best wishes for your perambulations!