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Creatively going in circles: Editor's Notes #241
August 15, 2017
Hello,

Moving around is good for creativity:
the next line of dialogue that you desperately need
may well be waiting in the back of the refrigerator
or half a mile along your favorite walk.

--Will Shetterly


In this issue:

1. Creatively going in circles
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1. Creatively going in circles
I suspect that most writers have discovered how useful a walk, a session digging in the garden, or a vigorous stint of house cleaning can be in breaking through when stuck in the pursuit of a creative endeavour. Today I’m going to let you in on a recently discovered secret that will take less time and energy, and may get you better, or at least as good, results as the more vigorous and diffuse activities listed above.

Michael Slepian and Nalini Ambady, two academics, tested specific movement related to creativity. In a series of experiments, they had subjects make special arm movements and then tested those subjects in creative tasks.

The arm movements were fluid, multi-directional, and circular. The tests focused on fluency and originality; flexible thinking; and the ability to make associations between words that are not necessarily immediately seen as related.

Slepian and Ambady’s results show that, "Moving one’s arm in multiple directions in a fluid and fluent manner seems to cue a metaphorically similar fluid thought process, enhancing creative processing and generation."

The next time you feel stuck in your writing, make fluid circular movements with your arm: circles, figure eights, wavy lines, etc. Make sure the movements go in different directions.

What do you have to lose? If nothing comes of this, you can always fall back on walking, gardening, or doing housework. And if it does work for you, you can wave your arms around a bit without even leaving your workstation, and then get right back to your newly improved piece of writing.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

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3. Interesting Web site
If you want more about creativity, explore the TED talks on creativity from this page.
https://www.ted.com/topics/creativity

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4. Writing prompt
I call this Circular Writing. You do not have to the exercise explained above before doing this, but it might help.

Begin with any opening you like. If you can’t think of anything, here’s one: I’ve been running in circles.

You can either outline a set of ideas, brainstorm, or just jump in and start writing. Keep going until you find your way to the last sentence, which is the same as the opening.

If you do this and want to share it with someone, I’ll be happy to read it.

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