Creativity Lab: 5 Ways to the Right Writing Mindset

Creativity Lab is our new blog series that uses scientific studies to help find ways to make your writing life creatively enriching.

From The Lab

A study by Elizabeth Hutton and S. Shyam Sundar from Penn State concerning how videogames affect creativity concludes that people who are either happy or angry are more creative. The study concludes that:

“[T]he happy mood provides the encouragement to be creative. A negative mood… signals a different kind of energy—one that makes a person more analytical, which is also helpful for creativity.”

So when you sit down at your writing spot to spin your stories, find something that makes you angry — such as doing a quick freewriting exercise to vent about traffic or stupid people — or happy — listen to your favorite playlist. Doing this will help you tap into a creative way of thinking that will elevate the writing work you do that day.

5 Ways to Get in the Right Writing Mindset

  1. Pick your playlists. A canadian study published in the Nature Neuroscience journal by the name of “Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music” found that “music, an abstract stimulus, can arouse feelings of euphoria and craving, similar to tangible rewards that involve the striatal dopaminergic system.” The study concluded that listening to your favorite song causes the brain to release high amounts of dopamine that is not unlike the effects of drugs like cocaine. So when seeking out a mood boost to enhance creativity, craft some epic playlists to play while you write.
  2. Freewrite your worries away. The therapeutic benefits of freewriting will be discussed in a future blog post, but the key benefit of freewriting is that it’s a great way to warm-up your brain. If you get in the habit of doing a timed write every time before you sit down to start working on a script, your brain will make the mental association of switching over to creative thought each time you start writing. This means less time staring at a blank page and more time writing scenes!
  3. Generate some friendly competition. One of Page 85’s features — Word Wars — can give you the benefits of freewriting with the fun aspect of competing against your friends and other Page 85 users. There’s nothing like the spirit of competition to help improve productivity!
  4. Use visual images to spark ideas. Screenwriters especially can benefit from using a series of images to inspire scenes, characters, and settings.
  5. Go to the same writing spot for every writing session. Once again, we’re trying to build mental associations between locations, conditions, and the creative process. Check out my last post about finding the best writing spot in terms of kindling creative thought.


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