Recommended Reading: Imagine – How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

by Willa Blair

From the book jacket: Did you know-

That the color blue can help you double your creative output?
Shattering the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative “types,” Jonah Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few. It’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.

Have you ever wondered how you get your ideas? Where they come from? Why they only seem to appear when you’re busy doing something else or when you’re falling asleep? (And woe to you if you don’t write it down, because you won’t remember that great idea in the morning.)

I’ll give you a hint. Read Jonah Lehrer’s book, Imagine – How Creativity Works.

In it, he describes how Bob Dylan achieved some of his greatest creative genius just at the point when he gave up writing music. How Proctor and Gamble came up with Swiffer. How Shakespeare may have become the greatest writer in the English language.

Lehrer explores how creativity comes about in the brain in a chapter called “The Unconcealing”.  There’s more to creating ideas than just meditating and waiting for your subconscious to spit forth gems. Focus and persistence can work as well, or differently, to help you produce ideas – or they can block insights that come from relating seemingly unrelate-able things.

In another chapter, called “Letting Go,” he delves into relinquishing the possibility of perfection, giving up control, not knowing what is going to happen until it does. Did you know there’s an area of the brain that can inhibit your inhibitions? No alcohol required.

He talks about the advantages of putting yourself in a new environment in the chapter, “The Outsider.” I’ve lived this. When I get home from travel, I often find myself rearranging furniture, cleaning out my closet, starting a new project. Travel – out of town, trying a new experience, being the outsider – can make even the most mundane thing interesting and rife with possibilities. And when you return home, the familiar is strange for a few moments and possibilities open up you that ignore in your everyday life.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of Lehrer’s enjoyable and informative book. Imagine – How Creativity Works is filled with fascinating examples of artists, writers, musicians and researchers who have been recognized as some of the most successfully creative people in the world. Lehrer explains the brain science behind creativity in an entirely understandable way, how environment affects creativity, and what we can do to maximize our own creativity and apply it to the world around us.

If you want to know more, read this book. I recommend it.

Creativity Lacking?

by Linda Carroll-Bradd

Creativity lacking? Here’s a hint…

Many of you heard me complain about the writing slump I’d been in for the past year or so (I’m being nice to myself here…work with me). I vowed that when I moved to California and had no day job to distract me, I would start producing new pages again. I’m proud to say I have. I wish I could say that I’d been bubbling with so many ideas that now I finally could get them down on paper.

I love to rely on calls for submissions issued by publishers. And this is for three main reasons.  First, is that a deadline is established and I have a concrete date to work toward. This lets me plan out my writing time and set daily or weekly goals to meet the word count by that last date.  Second, the calls always have a little hint at what they’re looking for—a theme, a circumstance, a time period, sensuality level.  Third, the relatively low word count. I look at a call that is asking for 5,000 word stories and I think, sure, I can write a 20-page story. I’m not intimidated by a story that size. By the time the pages are written, the story has been fleshed out to twice that length.

Here’s a sampling of the calls I found for themed anthologies:

Cerridwyn Publishing is looking for rodeo cowboy stories (15-360K)—due 8/15/12

Still Moments Publishing is looking for stories (5-15K) with the following themes: Christmas Magic due 8/18/12; Winter’s Kiss due 10/1/12; Frost Bite due 10/15/12; A Twist of Tales due 10/31/12; Unexpected Bump due 11/30/12

Ravenous Romance is looking for Alice in Wonderland-related erotic stories (2,500-5K)—due 9/1/12

Avon Impulse is looking for New Year’s Eve stories (15-20K)—due 9/15/12
Pink Petal Books wants stories for an End of Days-Apocalyptic anthology (7-15K)—due 9/15/12

Total e-bound (erotica only, 10/15K)) wants stories with domestic staff due 11/1/12; BDSM due 3/1/13; Wanton Witches (Halloween) due 4/1/13; Frost Bite (vampires) due 6/1/13

Wild Rose Press (Scarlet) is looking for m/m summer themed stories (query first)—due 12/31/12