1. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    The creative mind. A blessing and a curse?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kita, Jul 16, 2013.

    I'm not sure if anyone else has this problem but it is quite a hindrance to my own writing.

    My mind has a habit of drifting off when I write. Sometimes this is good, if it is relevant to the story, but quite often it is unrelated ideas for a different story and I cannot get back on track for some time.

    I do jot down these ideas for future reference but it is quite a pain? Does anyone else have this problem? How would you recommend tackling it?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    A mind full of ideas rocketing off everywhere all the time is not a creative mind; it's a normal mind. It becomes a creative mind when its owner learns some discipline and applies it. Most minds teem with ideas (that's my theory, anyway, and it seems to be true of myself and nearly all my family and friends), but creative minds actually get some creative work done.

    From that point of view, a creative mind is a blessing, not a curse.

    Don't fall into the trap of saying, "I can't get any writing done because my mind is just so amazingly creative! I can't shut off this fountain of brilliant ideas between my ears! It's a curse, I tell you! A curse!" That's just giving yourself an excuse to not finish anything and feel good about it.

    Now pardon me while I print this post off and stick it to the wall over my desk. :redface:
     
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  3. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    I still do get quite a bit done though I do often find myself daydreaming when I'm considering where to go next with a story.
     
  4. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah its a pretty good post
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Caffeine.
    Loud music.
    Eating nuts that have to be cracked.
    Talking to yourself.
    Swinging your feet really fast.
    All five.

    OK, OK, all of this assumes that the problem is the same as my problem - mild untreated likely-ADHD. My solution for wandering thoughts is to slowly introduce controlled distractions to use up my spare brain power until I have just enough brain power left to encompass the main task and no more. Sounds insane. Works beautifully.
     
  6. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    Music is something I always have playing when I write and you're correct with the ADHD. I shall have to attempt some of the other things. Thanks!
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    from minstrel:

    i agree!
     
  8. archerfenris
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    archerfenris Active Member

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    I daydream while writing, I daydream while working, I daydream while I should be doing other things. Not abnormal. It takes discipline. I daydream about anything and everything under the sun. It requires practice to harness it. I'm constantly reminding myself to only daydream about my book.

    I think it's a mild form of Maladaptive Daydreaming disorder or a severe form of ADD. My fiance has noticed and she's still with me. There's a surprise =P
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Well said!
     
  10. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I think getting down to brass stacks and actually finish something helps a lot to relief the mind from overflowing thoughts/concepts.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The mousy little girl sighed, put the computer to sleep, and headed off to that desk of invoices and medical records she had been avoiding.
     
  12. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Ain't that the truth!
     
  13. jmhoffer
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    jmhoffer Contributing Member

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    There is no such thing as mild ADHD, just so you know. Read books about ADHD that were written by people with ADHD. They are the only ones with a consistent perspective.
     
  14. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Creativity is a subject that has been studied by lots of people, and yet is hard to pin down. At the root, it involves one word though.

    Create.

    Creating ideas is fine, if that is where you wish to leave them. Creating stories is fine, if you develop a way to tell them. Creating new paradigms can also be wonderful. Anything created counts as creativity, even if it involves taking something old and putting a new spin on it, or transferring, and modifying, ideas from one method to another.

    A whack on the Side of the Head is a good book on creativity, but I think most of us would agree that becoming distracted sucks, but making something matters.
     
  15. Dryriver
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    Dryriver Senior Member

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    Your brain may generate a thousand creative ideas over a given week.

    You may write all of those ideas down, so none get lost in the process.

    The clever trick is to - now - pull the 10 to 20 really interesting/vital ideas out of that mountain of notes, and weave them into a written narrative commonly called "a story" or "a novel".

    If you still have SEVERE problems focusing while writing - i.e. you can't start and finish a whole chapter in one sitting - a trip to the doctor may work wonders.

    You may have some kind of undiagnosed attention-deficit type disorder, and there are sophisticated medications that can help with such a condition.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    I used to have that same problem, and as far as I know it only takes practice. If your mind wanders off while you are writing, you should just stop and go back and re-read what you have just written to get your mind back on track. Now, so long as it is relevant to the book, the creativity can be good. I had an incident of sudden inspiration in the third chapter of my novel that shocked me so much i nearly fell out of my chair. Literally. Still haven't changed that part that inspired me, and it works very well with the story. :D Just be careful to consider whether your inspiration can even be used in a book effectively, and throw it out if it isn't worth it.
     
  17. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    Creativity is good. It just has to be applied intelligently. Automotive power is good, but it has to have a steering wheel to get you where you need to go.

    When you realize your mind has wandered into interesting thoughts that don't apply to the chapter you are writing, take a piece of paper or open your IDEAS.doc file and record the new thoughts. Then, assured they won't get away and you can work on them at some future time, go back to what you were doing.
     
  18. jmhoffer
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    jmhoffer Contributing Member

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    :mad:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter_vs._farmer_hypothesis

    'Condition' my ass...
     
  19. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Since ADHD seems so common, it may be an adaptive part of evolution. It would encourage movement.
     
  20. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Now I feel like my mind is not very creative because I've never encountered this o_O I mean, yeah, my head floods with ideas when I'm not writing, but when I'm at it, I pretty much write what I've planned to write, so there's not really any wandering happening... maybe it's the planning-in-advance thing, then, that keeps the thoughts straight?
    I'm not sure what else to do in your case but to jot them down, map them out, see what you can make of them in the future if your thoughts keep wandering even while you write.
     
  21. jmhoffer
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    jmhoffer Contributing Member

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    No 'may be' about it. Google 'hunter versus farmer'.
     
  22. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Farming is too young to be something ADD would evolve around, but the basic premise of constantly shifting minds seems sound. Just replace the word with forage.


    Given how fast we gained big brains, it shocks me how certain people are of its functions.
     
  23. jmhoffer
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    jmhoffer Contributing Member

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    Back to this OP, you have the same problem I do. It sounds like ADHD, but don't take my word for it. Check with a psychiatrist. Preferably, a psychiatrist with ADHD.

    If you have ADHD, do not listen to people that tell you to take medications. Find a physical activity and stick to it several times a week. That's all you need.

    What I end up doing is pretty much what you do. If you can't stay focused, don't. You aren't built to. Write the ideas down. Maybe even try writing more than one story at a time. Having more than one project open allows you to switch when your mind wanders. Don't overdue it, though, or you'll overwhelm yourself.

    If you really, really want to focus, drink a ton of coffee.

    When working on one story, I'm experimenting with writing out of order. I got stuck so I skipped to the next part of the story that I was thinking about. I can always fill in the gap later.

    Hope this helps. :)
     
  24. jmhoffer
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    jmhoffer Contributing Member

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    There is a gene associated with ADHD that doesn't exist outside of people with ADHD in the developed world but is extremely common amongst current hunter/gatherer and nomadic peoples still around today. It is also common amongst peoples that have recently 'domesticated' (for lack of a better word), as is ADHD. North America's indigenous population, for instance.
     
  25. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Oh I'm not arguing about that premise at all (Through the Wormhole discussed this very issue, as do a few books). What's most interesting is the way we treat people who are 'different' with medication, which assumes that we understand the mind well enough to treat so many varied conditions. All of the people I work with who have ADHD do best getting lots of physical exercise, generally.
     

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