Archive | The Brain

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Are you in a creative rut? Break out of it!

rutted pathEvery one with a creative bent finds themselves feeling blank sometimes. Your hands are poised above the keyboard as you stare at a empty white screen, you hold a pencil or paintbrush in your hand and glare at a fresh new canvas, you look at your sewing machine and a shelf full of fabric, you wander around the neighborhood with a camera in hand and nothing clicks or comes to mind.

If your creative life were a journey, you just stepped into a pothole. Instead of scrambling out of it, you have gotten yourself stuck into a rut, the kind where your shoes are hard to pull out of the tight fit. It’s like trail in the woods where so many dirt bikes have raced along it that their tires have cut a sharp groove into the path and you are now trying to walk in it. You are so focused on getting your feet loose from the rut and looking down at it that you can’t see anything else. No fresh ideas or new thoughts are coming to you. You don’t even see the scenery around you. You are STUCK in that creative rut.

Of course, you don’t have to stay stuck! Just stop for a second.

Take a breath.

Put your head up and get your bearings.

OK, now it’s time to start climbing out.

Here are some ideas on breaking out of a creative rut. If you can figure out what is currently keeping you in that rut, you can figure out how to get out!

My favorite is Think creatively first. Edit later. Thinking creatively and logically at the same time won’t get you the best results. In other words, use both sides of your brain but NOT AT THE SAME TIME.

How to Break Out of a Creative Rut
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Iain McGilchrist: The Divided Brain (A TED Talk)

TED talks are as snackable and delicious as cupcakes, aren’t they?

If you’re here, you are likely interested in the junctures of left and right: creativity and rationality, art and commerce, and (perhaps) the neuroscience behind the divided brain theories. Perhaps even in the meeting of frosting and cake!

TED Talk: The Divided Brain

I enjoy hearing new points of view and information (that’s the right half of my brain scanning) and learning more about the world and how we operate within it. All that focus is my left hemisphere. My frontal lobe is now trying to tell me I’ve watched enough TED today, but I can’t resist sharing this many-layered presentation, The Divided Brain, by Iain McGilchrist about our brain hemispheres and the latest theories on how they work.

According to his bio on TED,

Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist and writer. Before he came to medicine, he was a literary scholar — and his work on the brain is shaped by a deep questioning of the role of art and culture. As his official bio puts it: “He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise — the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains.”

His deep background in Western culture is evidenced in this talk and wonderfully illustrated by RSA. If you haven’t watch them “cartooning” a presentation before, you’re in for a treat. You may want to stop the video and read the details in several places.

Do we live in a world that has become unbalanced in favor of the left brain while the living, breathing, real right brain has lost its place? What does that mean to art and artists and creatives of all types? Will all future creativity be directed towards video games for the left brain?

If you find this yummy TED “cupcake” of interest, you may want to check out the whole cake! See Iain McGilchrist’s book, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.


Brain Connectiveness

Perhaps if I had a name as long as this, I wouldn’t find so many scientific words impossibly long: Vilayanur Ramachandran. He goes by the much easier name Rama and similarly can take complicated subject and make it accessible and compellingly interesting to the rest of us.

Tonight I enjoyed watching his 2007 TED Talk: A journey to the center of your mind. If you’re interested in how brains work and a connection between brain wiring and creativity, you may enjoy it also!

He talks about brain damage and surprising connections within the brain, finishing with a remarkable insight into creative brains! Equally fascinating is a quest to resolve phantom limb pain with boxes and mirrors.