The Saturday Creativity Quote — the role of distraction

WPA stairs, Bigfork MT

We’ve all had the experience: You’re at your desk, think-think-thinking about a sentence, an image, a concept you can’t get from your brain to the page. You go downstairs to make another cup of coffee or wash the dishes and the solution comes to you. Turns out, there’s a reason for that. As Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire write in Wired to Create (2015), “interruptions and diversions can help that all-important creative incubation period. ‘In other words, a distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution,'” they quote Harvard psychologist Shelley H. Carson saying.

So don’t be afraid to leave your desk when all you’re accomplishing is denting your head by hitting it on the keyboard. Don’t stay away too long, of course — discipline has a role, too. But we’ll save that topic for another time!

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