featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

IS THERE SCIENTIFIC PROOF LINKING CREATIVITY AND SHOWERS?

photo by Alexander.stohr 
Creativity comes to different people in different ways. I’ve always gotten some of my best ideas while taking a shower. That’s where the idea for the bestselling Bake, Love, Write:105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing came to me. When I first approached other authors, asking them to participate in the project, many told me that they, too, often got their best ideas while in the shower.

Coincidence? Or is there a scientific basis for this phenomenon? It turns out the latter may be the case. Hansgrohe, a German fixtures manufacturer recently surveyed 4,000 people in eight countries. 72% of the respondents said they had gotten new ideas while in the shower.

The company sought the input of cognitive psychologist and creative thinking expert Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D. According to Dr. Kaufman, showers can enhance creativity by encouraging contemplation: “The relaxing, solitary and non-judgmental shower environment may afford creative thinking by allowing the mind to wander freely, causing people to be more open to their inner stream of consciousness and daydreams.”

So the next time you’re stuck for an idea—whether you need a plot for your next book or the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for friend or relative—hop in the shower.

Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing
What do most authors have in common, no matter what genre they write? They love desserts. Sweets sustain them through pending deadlines and take the sting out of crushing rejection letters and nasty reviews. They also often celebrate their successes—selling a book, winning a writing award, making a bestseller list, or receiving a fabulous review—with decadent indulgences. And when authors chat with each other, they often talk about their writing and their lives. Recipes. Writing. Relationships. In this cookbook 105 authors not only share their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.

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20 comments:

Suzie Tullett said...

How funny. I was literally just thinking about jumping in the shower. Having gotten to a sticky bit in my WIP, I thought a shower might clear my head a little x

Rose Anderson said...

I work out dialogue in the shower too. Hmm...
How interesting. :)

ANASTASIA POLLACK said...

Suzie, don't leave us hanging! Did the shower help?

Rose, do you write in the steam? I do!

JoAnne Myers said...

Hi Lois, they say scratching your head also stimulates the brain. A very informative article. Thank you

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Perhaps I should take more showers and scratch my head while doing so. I do get good ideas while walking, either outdoors when possible or on the treadmill.

Lois Winston said...

Interesting theory, JoAnne. I wonder if people get more ideas in the shower if they're washing their hair.

Jacqueline, I have to watch TV while on the treadmill. Otherwise I get too bored and don't stay on it long. So I rarely get an idea while on it. Same for when I'm out walking. I'm usually zoned out listening to music or deep in conversation with a walking partner.

Skyewriter said...

While I can't claim that I've ever hopped into the shower to get my creative juices flowing, I have definitely had some great plotting and dialog ideas while there. Sometimes a writer friend will have shared that they are trying to work something out and if anyone has ideas please share and often with that request in the back of my mind some great possibilities come to me in the shower and I can't wait to hop back out and send them an email.

Janie Emaus said...

I do my best thinking in the shower and in the car!

Michele Drier said...

Back when I was still making money (real daytime job), my Chief Financial Officer begged me not to take a shower before coming to work.
Too many ideas, she said.

Lois Winston said...

Skyewriter, what a great friend you are to solve other writers' problems!

Janie, when I mull over plot while driving, I usually wind up missing a turn!

Michele, I'm not sure I can remember back to the days of "real" money.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

I always, always get my best ideas in the shower. I think because you're forced to unplug and it settles your mind down to focus elsewhere. Although I have to admit that as hard as this book I'm writing right now is I might either go bankrupt or I might drown! Interesting post, Lois!

Lois Winston said...

Drowning in the shower, Donnell? Maybe in the bathtub. I eventually have to end my showers, whether I've gotten an idea or not, because I run out of hot water!

Angela Adams said...

I get my best ideas while working -- usually to and from the bus.

Donis Casey said...

Showering does open up some sort of creative and/or emotional channel for me, too. I've solved many a problem in the shower, and the answer always comes to me in a flash, usually when I'm not trying to figure it out. Also, when my mother died and there was much to take care of, I didn't cry until that night when I got into the shower, and then the floodgates opened. I've had emotional breakdowns (breakthroughs?) more than once under the water.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks for stopping by, Angela!

Donis, I've done my share of crying in the shower, too.

Melissa Keir said...

The shower is one of my favorite places to hang out. The water is soothing. I also like to think while I'm driving. I'm a captured audience and have to do something other than yell at all the crazy drivers!

Lois Winston said...

Melissa, every time I do anything other than concentrate on the traffic while I'm driving, I wind up somewhere other than my intended destination.

Ashlyn Chase said...

Yup. It's also been proven that the negative ions in salty ocean air is fabulous for creativity. Maybe that's why I love the beach so much!

Lois Winston said...

Ashlyn, I didn't know that about salty water. Maybe I should head down the shore more often.

Nancy said...

I get ideas in the shower, walking the beach, doing dishes and laundry. Now that I think about it, I get a lot of ideas when water is a factor.

Great post - thank you!

Light,
Nancy