Routines, Rituals, and Creativity in Writing

Via the excellent newsletter Brain Pickings, this article summarizes the research on what makes writers leverage their creativity and flow. I tweeted this post a few days ago but couldn’t resist writing about it: it’s that good!

Background noise, which serves to eliminate disruption of a state of flow, can be important for stimulating creative flow, or rather not disrupting it. Intellectual work is best suited to mornings, while “perceptual-motor” tasks are better done in the evenings.

Most interesting to me from a behavioral standpoint, is the space where writers write – the environment can be cued to be more conducive to writing, for example by placing a certain painting on the wall, or the desk itself by a window. These placements can cue the writer to begin the thought process that leads to creativity in their writing. The article goes on to say that rearranging the writing environment could help with writer’s block!

Similarly, in social cognitive theory, which I apply with my clients, the environment (both social and physical) is important in shaping behavior and must be considered carefully. As an amateur poet and writer of blogs like this, I find that being close to any writing device (phone, laptop, journal) and being outside are the most conducive for me.

Do you write? Keep a journal? What helps you write better?

Routines and rituals relating to background music, timing of writing, and the writing environment can help or hinder creativity and flow of writing

Routines and rituals relating to background music, timing of writing, and the writing environment can help or hinder creativity and flow of writing

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