I have a serious side. I love to write, and I’ve been doing it for years. My articles have been featured in major publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. I’ve even been profiled in magazines such as Forbes and Wired. When I’m not penning articles, I’m frequently found sprucing up prose with my own quirky words and phrases. I’m not some hokey sap who needs to vent his feelings on paper. I’m a thinking, feeling human being who happens to have a great deal of interest in words.
The problem is that I’m not very creative. If you’ve been following my work, you know this. I pride myself on my analytical thinking and dogged determination, but when it comes to putting those skills to paper, the results are fairly mundane. Sure, I can crank out some semi-intelligent thoughts in a hurry, but any sort of fiction or creative writing leaves me flat. I need some help.
Inducing creative flow in writers is a bit like turning up the pressure in a water heater. Your first instinct might be to crank up the temperature, but that’s the opposite of what you want. You want liquid, but you don’t want your house to burn down. The same goes for writers. We don’t need our brains to fuse, but we do need something that will push us beyond what we normally do. In my case, that’s usually creating lengthy research papers, working through problems in my math classes, or spending hours tinkering with my computer. All of these things help me get to the point where I can start writing, but none of them are conducive to creative flow. What if I told you there was a way to combine all of these things in one place and time, so that when I finally sit down to write, I can enter a state of complete creative flow?
I need to start by telling you that there is no shortcut to becoming a good researcher. If you want to write something that is both interesting and precise, you will need to put in the time to properly learn the subject matter. Luckily for us, you have an opportunity to do exactly that. Let’s say you’re interested in the topic of marriage. You could start by reading academic papers or investigating sociological trends. You could also look into the history of marriage, how it was viewed and treated throughout the years, and perhaps even find a way to compare contemporary marriage to ancient forms of wedlock. In addition to being an interesting topic, this sort of research can also contribute to your career. If you’re able to write well, and cite your sources correctly, you could really score some points with the powers that be at your company. Or your potential future employer. Again, the key to good research is time. Don’t expect to crank out some subpar research in an afternoon because you rushed through your morning’s work. You won’t get very far with amateurish work – especially if you want your writing to sound professional. Learn to be patient, and you’ll be able to pull off a solid piece of work that will inspire your creative side. All of this, however, can take a lot of time, which is why I say that there is no shortcut. Creative flow doesn’t come easily for everyone, and that’s exactly how it should be.
2. Math & Science
I need to tell you something about myself that might surprise you. I’m actually quite the geek. My mind constantly wanders to things involving numbers and logic. Whether it’s solving problems in my math classes or analyzing the patterns in my own stock market investments, I find my mind naturally drawn to the quantitative side of things. Naturally, this can translate quite well to my writing. If I’m doing an analysis of some kind and happen to stumble across some interesting historical data, I can often be found scouring the internet for the information, jotting down notes in a spreadsheet, and then transferring the numbers into a fresh document so I can start working through the theory. This is all part of my creative flow. If you’re a fan of the TV show The Big Bang Theory, you probably recognize me as one of the “math geeks” who gets stuck with the boring problem solving while the group of eccentric scientists chills at the bar. This is more or less how I spend my days nowadays. I may not always get the chance to be involved in cool, groundbreaking mathematics, but I make the most of whatever problems I do encounter. In a strange sort of way, my love of numbers has helped me develop a sort of mathematical mind, which has served me well when it comes to writing. If I ever get a question about human history or social norms that aren’t based on concrete figures, a quick Google search will almost always turn up something interesting. My knowledge of history and math, while not always applicable, has nonetheless proved useful in many situations. If a problem occurs to me while writing a paper, I can often be found solving it in my head before I even start typing. I don’t always succeed, but it’s not for lack of trying. Sometimes, my love of numbers simply gets in the way of my creative flow. Sometimes, I have to force myself away from the work until I can find my own solution. This can be very frustrating, to say the least.