Saturday Creativity Quote — on flow

Rushing water between two large sedimentary rocks

Flow. We know it when we feel it, but what is it? How can we cultivate it? A new study done at the Drexel University Creativity Research Lab used brain imaging to study jazz guitarists working on an improvisation and summarizes the results this way:

“The findings reveal the creative flow state involves two key factors: extensive experience, which leads to a network of brain areas specialized for generating the desired type of ideas, plus the release of control — “letting go” — to allow this network to work with little or no conscious supervision.”

I like this so much, not just because it rings true, but because it also tells us what we can do to experience flow more often and more readily: practice the work, whether it’s chord structures or writing dialogue, creating new pathways in the brain, and practice giving up conscious control of the process and the results.