Continuing our series on where authors get their ideas, today we welcome paranormal romantic comedy author Ashlyn Chase to explain why the creative mind is different from the “normal” mind. Learn more about Ashlyn and her books at her website.
Creative minds and their ideas
Are creative people different? The short answer is a resounding YES! I did a lot of research into the subject and found that creative people have actually been studied, measured, and in some cases dissected. With recent inventions like MRIs, there’s more data and less need to be drastic about obtaining it.
Without my notes and bibliography (a lot of paperwork went away when we downsized) I can only report the findings, not the group performing the study—but that’s the part you wanted anyway, right? You can go online for links to the scientific groups and methods used.
There was a Harvard group that discovered the space between the left and right half of the human brain (called the synapse) is wider in creative people. They hypothesized that more information ‘gets in’ because of this. Most people have filters that keep them from becoming overwhelmed. Artists and writers, less so. Many of us will tell you we get overwhelmed and have to go off by ourselves to decompress more often than our ‘normal’ friends.
So, when people ask us where we creatives (20% of the population) get our ideas… Well, we receive a lot of random input that would bounce off a ‘normal’ brain. That’s why you’re so amazed that we come up with some of the bizarre premises and plot twists that wind up in our books. And, guess what? Sometimes we amaze ourselves!
I use this little illustration in my talks. Ed, Sally, and Sherlana visit a furniture store. They all need couches. Ed has a very tight synapse (as most men do.) He’s focused. He quickly spots a couch that looks like it would do the trick. He sits on it. It’s comfortable. He buys it with his credit card.
Sally has a moderately spaced synapse. She looks through the whole store, locates the possible couches that match the size and color she wants. She sits on a few and finally makes a decision. Then she buys it at no interest for a year and gets free delivery.
Finally Sherlana strolls through the store looking for a couch, and stops in her tracks. Out loud, she whispers, “I love that coffee table!” She pictures herself flipping it upside down, padding the seat, making the legs into arms, and hanging it from the ceiling. Pointing to the table, she exclaims, “I can have a couch and a swing!” Then she goes off to the craft store to buy the foam and fabric.
Yeah, Sally and Ed would be rolling their eyes at her. But that’s their problem, right?
Most of us creatives have felt ‘different’ all our lives without knowing why. In the early years it can be painful. Hopefully, by the time we’re adults, we’ve accepted our differences and even embraced them. Writers, poets, artists, and musicians are often prone to mood disorders, like depression. A survey found that 35% of composers suffered from depression at one time. For writers the stats increase to 72%, and for the poor poets, the number soars to 90%.
What does this mean? Well, at this point I’d caution a creative person to take care of their mental health. Avoid toxic people. Take a mental health day when needed. Be gentle with yourself.
For the rest of the world? Be gentle with a creative soul. They need encouragement and support more than most. If you review, find some kind things to say about their work. Treat them as you would want to be treated—if you had to put up with random sh*t flying through your brain and had to make some kind of sense of it.
Tiger's Night Out
A light paranomal romance, plus bonus novella
Thirty nine year-old English teacher Haley Hunnicutt is tired of losing out on love to younger women, and she’s not alone. One night she and three single friends perform a magical summoning of immortal lovers—guys who will appreciate mature women.
Jamir and his brother are shapeshifting Bengal tigers. Tasked by the god Vishnu, they have been guarding a sacred temple for three hundred years.
When Haley has a vision in her dirty dishwater, she sees her immortal and he sees her. But she doubts a guy in a loin cloth has an easy way to get to New York. So, a trip to India is necessary—or insane.
There’s only one way to find out…