• Joan Wilkening

A Creative's Brain

Updated: Jun 11, 2018

Have you seen the post that describes a creatives brain as a browser with 100 tabs open all at the same time? That's us. Or, the post saying when having a conversation with us prepare to have 25 side conversations at the same time. I struggle to focus and stay on task. Unless I'm in the back room, paint brush in hand working on a project. I can stay focused for hours. I do my best thinking when I'm painting. There is something about applying paint in slow smooth strokes that is very soothing, relaxing and hypnotic.

"Contrary to the “right-brain” myth, creativity doesn't just involve a single brain region or even a single side of the brain. Instead, the creative process draws on the whole brain. It's a dynamic interplay of many different brain regions, emotions, and our unconscious and conscious processing systems"

- Creative people's brains really do work differently — Quartz

A recent Harvard study confirms that creative people automatically draw on several parts of the brain at one time. Which is why sometimes we seem to be all over the place, lack focus and jump from one project to another.  But, once we start a creative project, we're focused and dedicated to the process at hand. Just don't interrupt us!  Whether I'm painting, creating a display, rearranging furniture or loading the back of my truck, I can "see" the outcome in my mind. Or, sometimes I just start moving things around until it "feels" right. Most of us have that piece of furniture sitting in the corner under the tarp that we don't know what we're going to do with. It's waiting. Quietly. Patiently. Until one day the inspiration hits us and we can't stop until it's finished.

I also enjoy detail work, like sitting at a table sorting buttons by color, or organizing my supply cabinet, or paperwork (all evidence to the contrary I really do enjoy the "numbers" part of business and filing paperwork). Sometimes we creatives struggle getting started, we have project pieces, supplies,  stacks of stuff and pieces of things and drawers full of "just in case" that we need to save because we may need it some day. What are we going to do with it? We don't know. But something will come up. And we know the minute we get rid of it, we'll need it. It's not the same as hoarding, it's work supplies for a purpose. We just don't know what that purpose is yet. 

Creatives can be painters, bakers, gardeners, writers, musicians and engineers. Do you know a creative? Are they easy to live with? Are they easy to know? Be patient with us, we can't help it when all those areas of our brains start firing and we can't focus, can't be on time and lose track of time! We can't help it, the scientists said so. A messy life is a creative life. Connect with like-minded creatives in our Facebook group.

Photo borrowed from A Girl And a Glue Gun

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