Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Creativity and...Improv?

Missy Tippens



I’m fascinated by the brain and creativity. I read the most amazing article recently in the May 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine. It was titled “What Makes a Genius?” by Claudia Kalb with photography by Paolo Woods. (Links to all articles will be included at the end). This article blew me away.

What sucked me in was how researchers have looked at slides of Albert Einstein’s brain tissue trying to figure out if it’s different from other brains. This led me to some really interesting ideas about creativity and writing.

A few things from Kalb’s article that stood out to me about genius:

--Geniuses are nurtured.
--Lone geniuses are rare (they’re usually seen in a network).
--Even with natural gifts and a nurturing environment, genius still requires motivation and tenacity (so personality plays a role).
--Angela Duckworth believes that a combination of passion and perseverance—what she calls “grit”—drives people to achieve. 
--Dean Keith Simonton says, “The number one predictor of impact is productivity.” (He uses the example of Thomas Edison having 2000+ patents.)
--Scott Barry Kaufman says, “Great ideas don’t tend to come when you’re narrowly focusing on them.” He talks about information coming in consciously but being processed unconsciously so that we sometimes get unexpected “aha” moments. (Yes! I love those!)
--Rex Jung says research shows that thought processes like daydreaming and imagining take place in the middle part of our prefrontal cortex across both hemispheres.
--Andrew Newberg’s research shows that the genius brain has an area that is twice the size of control brains (the corpus callosum, a centrally located bundle of more than 200 million nerve fibers that joins the two hemispheres of the brain and facilitates connectivity between them).



So, you and I may not be geniuses, but we can learn to nurture creativity, we can stimulate our brains, and we can hang around other people who are creative—those who challenge us, support us and inspire us. We can learn to increase productivity and to persevere.

The “What Makes a Genius?” article also sent me searching for more from Charles Limb. I watched a TED Talk called “Your Brain on Improv.” It’s based on Creativity and the Brain by Dr. Charles Limb and his collaborator Allen R. Braun.

Basically, they used a functional MRI (fMRI) to look at the brain activity of a jazz musician and a freestyle rapper in action (they developed a keyboard that they could put inside the machine). The experiment asked: What happens in the brain when doing something that is memorized and over-learned vs what happens in the brain when doing something that is spontaneously generated or improvised?

They found in the brain during improvisation:
--Lateral prefrontal deactivation (a decrease in self-monitoring)
--Medial prefrontal activation (an increase in self-expression)

With the jazz pianist, they also found that during improv, his language areas lit up, an area associated with expressive communication.

With the freestyle rapper, major visual areas lit up—even with his eyes closed. He also had major cerebellar activity (associated with motor activities). So, he had heightened activity in multiple areas of the brain.

In another article about Limb's research found in Peabody Magazine by Nick Zagorski and Keith Weller titled “The Science of Improv," they pointed out that during improvisation, the brain regions involved with all the senses lit up, showing a heightened state of awareness. The researchers said the people being tested “literally taste, smell, and feel the air around them.” They described a strange similarity to brain wave patterns that can be seen during REM sleep. So maybe there’s a connection between improv and dreaming.



What does this mean for us as writers?

The first thing that struck me (a plotter/planner), is that I’d like to try doing more “improv.” I’m sure I’ll still want to do my pre-planning. But I’d like to jump in on the first draft and write so that my brain’s self-monitoring turns off and self-expression turns on.

I’d like to try writing with my eyes closed (I do this sometimes already).

I’d like to let go of some of my writing methods that have become learned and practiced and let my brain go wild while creating.

I’d like to continue interacting with all of you who participate in the blog to inspire me and support me. To push me when I need it. You’re my genius network! :)

What about you? Who wants to try doing a little improv the next time you’re working on a new story? Have you had success trying this method already? I'd love to hear what you think!

If you’d like to be entered to win a fun improv mug, please let me know in the comments (U.S. addresses only this time).



Here are the links I promised. Enjoy the articles and video, but please come back to chat with us!




Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, has always been a bit of a science geek. Before staying home with her kids, she worked as a clinical microbiologist. Then the writing bug bit. After over ten years of pursuing her dream, she finally made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest and a 2013 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. A House Full of Hope was a Romance Writers of America 2013 RITA® Nominee. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com, https://twitter.com/MissyTippens and http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers.

78 comments :

  1. Decaff is brewing for our night owls! Help yourself to a cup.

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  2. Wow, I can't believe that Thomas Edison had 2000+ patents!! That little tidbit jumped out at me :-O

    It's amazing when you have people who nurture you & what you can accomplish as a result of that. Not just for writing either, I think that can apply to all of life. I have a reader friend who has a certain goal in life and is making strides to achieve that in spite of her health issues. Myself and a few other reader friends cheer her on even when she can do only baby steps that day. It's a powerful motivator when you have people on your side :-)

    I can see where improv would stimulate (light up) your brain in all kinds of ways! Letting your creative side have control. I also think you gals (and guys) as authors can make that work for you. Let yourself write and create with your words just for the sake (fun) of creating words on paper. I bet you could glean all kinds of good things for future book ideas that way.

    Fun post Missy! I'll skip on the coffee mug (I have thousands already, lol), but I really, really enjoyed this post. The brain is amazing and the Creator God of said mind is even more so!! I don't even think scientist have touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to figuring out the mind and how it works!

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    1. Trixi, I agree! I don't think we've nearly tapped what our brains can do. It'll be a amazing to see more of what our wonderful brains can do and how they work.

      Thanks for the reminder to have fun in the creative process!

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    2. Trixi, this may not be exactly true but I heard once that Edison at Menlo Park was almost an 'invent to order' factory.

      Edison just spent all his time making things electric and people would come in with...say...and eggbeater and ask him to figure out an electric version and he would, and he'd apply for a patent.
      But fundamentally he was just hooking an electric motor to everyday devices.

      His big inventions like the light bulb are so well known, but what's not understood is his little, day-by-day inventions that created an electric version of nearly everything.

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    3. Interesting historical fact Mary, I had no idea! But I doubt many people do :-)

      Thanks, I learned something new today!

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  3. Thank you for the java. Added ice and cream and now I have iced coffee.

    I do improv with my short stories. Always. Not so much with novels. Must think on this. Must oil my brain first so it doesn't burn up.

    This sounds like a pantser plan to me, and I like it.

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    1. LOL, Tina! I tried not to go to the plotter/pantser debate, because I think we all need to try this. :) I've done this more with novellas as well. They seem easier to just jump in and start. I think, for me, it's because I'm not as stressed about them for some reason.

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  4. Good morning, Missy!

    Interesting article. I'm with you, I like to plan my major plot points, but I use free writing to get from one point to the other. Then I go back through to make sure the scenes have a beginning, middle, and end to them.

    It's good to be with my network of Seekers here this morning. I'm sipping ​licorice root tea and enjoying a peaceful night. The Amtrak train just went through our little town. It has a unique whistle. I always dream of far-off places whenever I hear it. Perhaps I'll close my eyes and improve a new story set on a train...

    ~ Renee

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    1. Renee, I hope you come up with a wonderful story set on a train!

      You know, I do write very much like you do. I think when I try this improv, I'm only going to plan the characters and no plot points. I want to try letting my brain discover those. It should be fun!

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  5. I love the science of brains. And the science of what's around us... and how we got here. I don't always buy into all of it, but Missy, I love that our brains are so individualized. I remember writing mental stories as a small child... I remember creating characters and "seeing" what they'd do... so for me that creative side of mentally writing the book before I sit down has been there as long as I can remember.

    The brain is a funny thing. We are somewhat programmed, but we have choices, too, and making those choices become daily habit is a big part of building that work platform.

    Great ideas here.

    Now I'm going to go put some of them to work!!! :)

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    1. Ruthy, I love how you write your stories in your head beforehand! That's your improv. And that's an amazing ability to hold all that large story as a whole, without writing any of it down.

      I have trouble with the big picture. It's difficult for me to see it as a whole. I really envy your ability!! But I'll try not to hate you for it. hahaha! :)

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    2. for me that creative side of mentally writing the book before I sit down has been there as long as I can remember.

      Oh my gosh, Ruthy. You just helped me realize something huge! The reason I don't usually plot is because it's all "there" for me. My imagination/sub-conscious/whatever has already created the characters and plotted the story before presenting it to me. That's why my characters appear (to me) full-blown.

      Oh wow Ruthy! Thank you!

      Nancy C

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    3. Nancy, you, too, are blessed to be able to do that! So cool!

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  6. COFFEE IS HERE. THE REAL STUFF!!!!

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    1. Yay!! Fully loaded coffee and tea. Italian Sweet Cream Creamer or half-and-half available as well!

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  7. Great stuff, Missy! I completely agree with the research mentioned in “The Science of Improv." When I free write in my journal I feel a heightened state of awareness and more connected to my characters.

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    1. Jill, that's so cool that a journal does that for you! I've never done much free writing for my stories beyond initial brainstorming. I think I need to try keeping a character journal.

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  8. Great post! They have a Common Ground night at the local high school each May. This year The City Harmonic group was there, a few Christian guys from Va Tech sports clubs, Craig Whittaker band (one of the bands my son plays drums for) and 3-2-1 Improv. I'd never heard of the Improv group (or The City Harmonic for that matter), but I realized with the Improv group, I just don't think I could do that. They'd take audience suggestions and improvise situations. It was amazing! Missy, thanks for an interesting post and great links!

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    1. Sally, it's amazing to watch someone doing improv, isn't it! I think these artists have to get into an almost altered state. They must have to tune everything out and just focus on the piece. I've been that way while writing before. My daughter has had to come up to me and actually grab my face to get my attention. :) It's a great feeling!

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  9. Very interesting. My son loves to do improv while he plays the piano. It seems to energize him. I love being creative. I will have to try this more after reading your article.

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    1. Becky, it would be fun to watch our kids do this! So cool that it energizes your son. You'll have to let us know how it turns out if you try improv!

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  10. Fascinating, Missy! I love reading about how our mind works--especially as related to creativity and Story

    When I'm coming up with story ideas, I invest a lot of prayer & improv time--then develop a high level set of plot points to keep me on track and write the synopsis. I don't like to get TOO down in the weeds beyond what it takes to sell from a synopsis so there's room for my brain to happily fill in the detail 'gaps'. When for some reason I feel I must project too far out into the story in TOO much detail in the actual scenes, I get bogged down and tangled up. I'm definitely not a pantser (tried that for years and could never finish anything), so I need a strong foundation for my character backgrounds and a story framework to guide me to where I know I need to get, but then my mind needs freedom to flesh it all out.

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    1. Glynna, it is a different animal when we have to turn in a synopsis with the proposal. But I love how you're able to leave yourself room for improv once you get the proposal approved. I think it's so fun to get totally absorbed in a story and to lose track of time.

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  11. Real coffee? Yay!

    Missy, this is a great post! I've had prayer journals, but a few years ago my daughter-in-law gave me a journal for my writing. I'd take notes on areas or people of phrases. This year before I moved my other daughter-in-law and a friend each gave me a journal for my writing. After reading your post, I may try some free writing. Thanks for sharing today, and I'd love to have my name in the post for the mug.

    Have a great day!

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    1. Jackie, I've got you entered! Enjoy your free writing!

      I love how several of you have mentioned writing with pen and paper for the improv. I automatically thought of the computer. But I really should try good old fashioned paper and pen just to see what happens. :)

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  12. Hi Missy, Love this post. Hubby and I have been watching Genius which is the life of Albert Einstein and National Geographic channel on TV did a really interesting show on genius and they showed the results of Einstein's brain studies. I bet its the same info as the article in the magazine. It was fascinating. They showed that the part of the brain that resulted in his genius was enlarged. And that same part of the brain enlarges when a person is in prayer. That fascinated me. Its also the creative part of the brain. They showed that someone meditating but didn't believe in God - that part of the brain did not highlight. But if a person who believed, prayed or meditated, that part of the brain highlighted with growth and activity. Very fascinating.

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    1. Sandra, we've been watching the show as well!

      I had not read or heard the part about praying. That's so cool! I'm going to go try to look up more info on that.

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  13. Missy, this is a great post and so thought-provoking. I tend to work like Ruthy, working things out in my head, often when I'm driving or doing mindless tasks like yard work. So I have an idea where I'm going when I sit down to write. I've never dared to do the improv because my writing time is so limited and I didn't want to risk having something that didn't work. NOT a risk-taker, which is really too bad, but it is what it is.
    I am struggling this week with a lot of changes in my life. "O brave new world that has such people in it." Whatever. Dealing with retirement and the sudden influx of free time, what should I do, write or clean the house? I haven't come up with a workable schedule yet. Maybe I'll throw my back out, and that will decide for me, ha ha.
    It is Cold and Wet here, so I can't do any of my spring things, garden, go to beach, etc. Hope it dries off soon. I may be back later.
    Talk to you soon,
    KB

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    1. Kathy, I think what you and Ruthy do is improv in your mind beforehand. So that's exciting too!

      I hope you can get your schedule figured out. My retired friends often say they are busier now than ever, so be sure to get your writing schedule set before you fill up doing other things! :)

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  14. Fascinating information, Missy! My best story ideas absolutely come to me when I'm not thinking about story -- most of them come when I'm just sitting on the front porch doing nothing. It's a great reason to do more sitting on the front porch doing nothing :-)

    You type with your eyes closed sometimes? So do I! I used to think I closed my eyes to shut off the sense of sight, but I've realized that I'm still 'seeing,' but in my imagination.

    Such a terrific post -- thanks for lots of think about ... on the front porch ;-)

    Nancy C

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    1. Nancy, I love that you have a wonderful front porch for sitting and daydreaming! I think that's an excellent time for dreaming up your stories.

      I'm glad to hear someone else has tried closing her eyes! I usually do it when I'm stuck and trying to picture what's happening. I think it does also help me shut out visual distractions--including the keyboard and computer screen. :)

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  15. Missy, your post is fascinating! From what you've presented here, by revising as I write, I'm shutting down my creativity. To change what is natural for me is really hard but it's not impossible. I think it involves trusting myself more.

    I'm thankful for the support of writers and readers here in Seekerville that share a passion for Christian fiction.

    Janet

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    1. Janet, I tend to edit as I go too--unless I'm really on a roll. Aiming for getting on that roll is what I'd like to do more often. I love when I get going so fast that I don't even take the time for correcting my typos (much less grammar and perfect word choices). I tend to get in that phase as I'm nearing the end of the book. I write so much faster near the end! It's like I'm heading downhill faster than my feet can carry me. :)

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    2. Missy, when you're heading downhill faster than your feet can carry you, you may just end up on a roll! :-)

      Janet

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  16. Interesting information, Missy. I think of brainstorming as being improv. I am energized by the activity and it seems as if my brain is stretching farther than at other times.

    Also, I think writers are a highly intellectual group. So, yes, to hanging around with creative types who help me to see farther and do more.

    I'm taking from this that daydreaming about my next story while at the beach is a very good thing. So let's plan a beach trip. Okay?

    Hugs!

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    1. Debby, YES!! I work best at the beach, actually. There's something about the white noise of the waves crashing that really helps me focus.

      I would love to have a brainstorming retreat!

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    2. I'm going to try daydreaming the next story before I write it. I may not be able to stop editing when I'm putting words on the page, but I've never edited a daydream.

      Janet

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    3. That's a good idea, Janet! You can't edit if you're not at a keyboard. :)

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    4. "Editing a Daydream" sounds like the topic for another blog, Janet! :)

      A beach brainstorming retreat sounds perfect!!! Count me in! :)

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  17. Missy, this was super interesting! I love learning about brain function. I once heard that crocheting uses both sides of your brain (creative and calculating for counting rows). Have no idea if that's actually true, but makes me feel better when I'm working on a blanket.

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    1. Sharee, that makes perfect sense about doing needle work! Anything that uses different parts of the brain is good exercise to keep our brains sharp. :)

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  18. Great post, Missy! I've been reading a scientific article about our brains relationship to things we naturally love to do.Interesting stuff, some of which I had to skim because I did not need the gritty details on neuroplasticity and EEG scanning apparatus. But the article discussed mindfulness a lot, including our creativity. Your blog confirms my need to quit editing as I write so much--to "Let it go" so to speak. BTW Debby, the article I read also talked about our natural "pull" to the ocean as a source of inspiration and creativity. Water has an amazing influence on expanding our minds. So beach trips are justifiable for more than research!

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    1. Darlene, I'll have to look for that article! Neuroplasticity sounds really interesting to me. :)

      I love that the ocean can expand our minds! That confirms what I've felt. Wish I lived closer!

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    2. Thanks, Darlene, for the info about the ocean. I wondered if it took us back to the time in the womb, so almost an innate place of peace and inspiration.

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  19. This was a fascinating post. Thank you!
    I just had a very strange week. I got hit with an idea, and scribbled down a 55k book in 6 days. Never did that before. I was writing down the plot as fast as I could until it was done.
    One thing I noticed was that my ability to spell was gone. Usually this is something I can do without thinking, but whatever part of the brain that handles spelling was shut down completely. When I finished, I could not read anything that required heavy thinking. It was like my brain was a muscle that needed to rest.
    The whole thing was a strange experience. Not that I am complaining! Just trying to figure it out.

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    1. Evelyn, I'm blown away by your productivity!! It may not be something you can figure out. It may be a gift from God.

      Janet

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    2. Evelyn, that's amazing!! That's exactly what this article was talking about! So very cool. I'm glad you got that experience.

      When I'm winding down in a story, sometimes my hands get going so fast that my fingers get off the keys a bit, and I'll type gobbley goop. LOL I have to go back and figure out the words. But that's just a physical thing--hands lined up on keyboard. It sounds like you were actually using a different part of your brain, which is ultra cool!!

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  20. WOW, MISSY, TALK ABOUT "IMPROV" AND CREATIVITY!!! This is one of the most unique topics I have ever seen, on Seekerville or elsewhere! SOOOOOO interesting!!

    As far as writers and this blog, the #1 thing that hit me is the statement: “The number one predictor of impact is productivity.”

    So simple, yet so true! And the #1 factor in the major success of a number of indie authors I know.

    I like the idea of you closing your eyes to write -- I might try that too.

    I took a fiction-writing course in college, and remember a cool exercise the teacher made us do every single class, and I'll bet you've heard of it.

    Basically the teacher set a timer and everyone had to write for ten minutes straight without stopping to think or pause or even lift their pens from the paper (yes, I am so old that computers weren't even around yet!). It was fun, but also a little scary at some of the weird, off-the-wall stories that came out of the class. ;)

    GREAT blog, Missy!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, the fact about productivity really struck me as well. I'm a slow writer and would love to speed up. I think if I could get out of my head--all the worry over planning the perfect story--and just let loose, then I could produce a lot more.

      I love the timer idea! Thanks for sharing that.

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  21. Interesting stuff, Missy.

    I love these:

    --Scott Barry Kaufman says, “Great ideas don’t tend to come when you’re narrowly focusing on them.”

    This is so true. My best ideas comes when I'm not concentrating. (First thing in the morning and in the shower.)

    --Angela Duckworth believes that a combination of passion and perseverance—what she calls “grit”—drives people to achieve. 

    YES! This gives us all hope. I suddenly want to watch a John Wayne movie.

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    1. LOL on the movie, Connie! Get some true grit. :)

      I, too, get ideas in the shower. And also while driving (that sounds scary, doesn't it?!). :)

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  22. Missy this is so interesting.
    What came to mind when you were writing was how I sometimes feel like the book is coming out of the ends of my fingertips, more than out of my brain.

    That makes no sense, especially to a plotter.

    But I remember one time my daughter's teacher, knowing I was an aspiring writer, asked me if I'd be able to write a play for the Christmas program.
    I'd written many plays for my Sunday School Christmas program but she said, "Why not for school, too?"

    So I said, "No. I've got no ideas."

    Then on Monday I showed up at school with three plays written.

    I just had never thought about writing secular plays for a school.
    So I sat down and just sort of started. And here came this little rhymey-Christmas poem.
    Then, not sure how much I liked that, I tried again and wrote a story that was sort of girls vs boys. As far as the children getting ready for the Christmas Program. The girls all fussy and pretty, ribbons and curls. The boys out in the yard playing in the snow, all messy.
    Anyway very fun...but I worried if it was the right tone.
    So I wrote a third one about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Like...the sequel.

    I showed them to the teacher and she did all three.
    But that happens to me a lot. The idea just sort of unfolds as I type. NOT plotted. But then I revised and revise to make it flow and apply all my learned skills.

    Anyway this reminds me of that...improv.

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    1. Mary, that's a perfect example of improv! I love how you describe it as words flying out of your fingers. It's like you've turned off the rational/conscious part of your brain and let the unconscious just take over.

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  23. I do a lot of daydreaming. I daydream how I'd react to various provocations...and whole conversations go back and forth in my head.
    Usually they are about me confronting someone ... often it's all pure imagination. I'm confronting someone who has not done anything.

    But it's all 'what if'.


    And the thing is, I am the least confrontational person in the world. Pathologically non-confrontational actually.
    I'm a total wimp....but then I write books that are full of frank talk, blunt honesty, confrontation.

    And that's me putting down on paper all my bold thoughts that I can never transfer to actual bold talk.

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    1. Mary, I'm the same way! I avoid confrontation like crazy. So it's difficult for me to write it. But when I do, and let a character go crazy giving an opinion or chewing someone out, I have so much fun. haha

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  24. Also, this part you wrote, Missy: So, you and I may not be geniuses...

    I think you probably are one. Just sayin'.....

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    1. LOL, I wish! Nope. Just a regular brain. :)

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  25. And when do those AHA MOMENTS HAPPEN??

    Re: "--Scott Barry Kaufman says, “Great ideas don’t tend to come when you’re narrowly focusing on them.” He talks about information coming in consciously but being processed unconsciously so that we sometimes get unexpected “aha” moments. (Yes! I love those!)"


    IN THE SHOWER. JUST AS WE ARE FALLING ASLEEP! Now I get why!

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    1. Yes, Tina! In the shower and while driving for me. Which is probably not something I should admit about driving. LOL

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  26. Ha! Connie Queen and I agree. Great minds.

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  27. MISSY, this is such a fascinating post! Sometimes we need to take a step back and go blow bubbles to enable our subconscious to time to process ideas and such.

    Please toss my name in for the improv mug.

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    1. Blowing bubbles sound like a great way to process, Caryl! :)

      I've got you entered!

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  28. This was such an interesting post, Missy. Like others here, I get my best ideas (especially conversations between my characters) while I'm driving, doing dishes, etc. And yet that improv feel has a tendency to dry up when I'm actually at the keyboard. It's like there's suddenly somebody watching, and I feel the need to do things differently. I have to work at balancing everything - but I'm learning. Thanks for such a fun post!

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    1. Laura, I do that some too. That's why I think some of the people who mentioned using pen and paper and journaling may have a good idea.

      I mentioned getting ideas while driving... I have SO many notes in my iPhone where I have dictated things about plot or characters to Siri while driving. :)

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  29. I really DO love improv, so I would love to get my hands on that mug! My "day job" is as a professional classically-trained cellist, and improvisation is not something we learn in the standard performance track in college/grad school, so I was not into improv at all. Give me notes on a page, please and thank you.

    But that all changed when I was asked to play on a special with the worship band at the church I attended in college. They had notes on the page for the special, but they liked the sound of the cello so much that they wanted me to play on the rest of the worship set, too. The problem? There weren't written out parts for those songs. I would have to make them up.

    To make a very long story short, I taught myself how to improvise, and now that's what I prefer. It's so much fun to be able to react in the moment, to pick up on what another musician is doing and add to it/support it/complement it in various ways.

    I find this love of improv creeping up in my writing, too; I would say I'm about 20% plotter, 80% pantser. As in music, I need a basic framework (with a worship song, it's the chords; with writing, it's a general plot or character arc--I know I need to get from here to here by this point--but beyond that I prefer to see where the characters/notes take me.

    Thanks for a very enlightening post!

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    1. Amanda, that's such a great story about the cello improv! It sounds like something that would work great for you with your writing. I'm with you, though. I need a bit of skeleton to work with. On my novellas I've started with very little--maybe general characters info, a couple of big plot points and the ending. Then I'll look back and decide on a middle point of reflection. Then I start writing, aiming for that middle. It's so fun to do it that way!

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  30. Very interesting and thought provoking post. I never put much thought to this, but now I want to try it in my writing.

    Instead of closing my eyes when writing, sometimes I'll just stare at the keyboard, and not the screen of my computer.

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    1. Nicki, that's a great idea to stare at your hands. That way you're not trying to edit as you type.

      I hope you have fun with the improv if you end up trying it!

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  31. I'm back! I've been spreading mulch in the yard! I'm a dirty mess but wanted to do a quick check in. LOL

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  32. I sometimes fall into such deep daydreams I'm not sure if my eyes are open or not. But, yes, there is definitely a lot of improv involved even if I am a plotter.

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    1. Boo, now that you say that, I guess I do the same thing sometimes. I get so focused inwardly that I'm not aware of what's going on around me.

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  33. Missy, thanks for the thoughts about why some improv can be good even for us plotters. If I stray too far from my outlined plot, my stream of consciousness mind goes way into left field and I find myself looking at a 120000 word novel. But I do try to listen to those little voices while I'm writing and I ask why I'm thinking about something different. If it adds emotion and a subtle subtext that resonates, it usually means I need it and I need to listen to the voice inside my head that says go with the idea. Then if nothing else, I see if I need to go back to the plotting board with the new idea. Usually I let myself go when it's an object that can add an emotion. Thanks for the nudge to let my imagination flow more.

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    1. Tanya, I love to use this method for emotional scenes. I've had some really cool things pop up into my stories while writing that make them deeper.

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  34. Hi Missy:

    Sorry I'm so late to the party. Family emergency on-going. Love the topic.

    The genius of being a solitary genius is that you are smart enough to know how to remain incognito and wise enough to know to do so. It's the networking geniuses who seek publicity and thus have fooled the researchers into thinking they are in the majority.

    However, I would venture that over 90% of geniuses are of the solitary type. They don't like explaining why they are not rich nor with having to deal with the resentment of those who found studies difficult.

    Besides, there are many types of geniuses. There are musical, mathematical, chess, IQ, test taking, artistic, storytelling, poetic, military, dance, athletic and idiot savants of all kinds.

    It's just possible that everybody is a genius in some hidden way and they would be wise to try to discover what it is.

    The most interesting thing about a room full of geniuses is just how ordinary they are.

    Vince

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    1. Vince, I love the idea that we might all be geniuses in some way and should start discovering what that is. Love it!

      I loved the part of the article that shows the networks of geniuses of all kinds (musical, science, etc). It's like looking at Six Degrees of Separation. :)

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  35. I enjoyed reading the many comments and especially Sandra's comment about prayer.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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