A few quotes to get you thinking …
Pat Pattison: Professor of Poetry and Lyric writing at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, author of “Writing Better Lyrics”:
The time to start [songwriting] is the first thing in the morning, even before coffee. Sit down and give it a full ten minutes – but no more.
Barry Green, in his book “The Inner Game Of Music”:
My fourteen-year-old cousin Dana … tells me that she plays piano best when she has just rolled out of bed in the morning or is exhausted at the end of the day … It seemed amazing to both of us that Dana was able to perform much better when she was barely awake … Other musicians, young and old, have told me that they perform best when they are relaxed, slightly ill [or] tired.
Songwriter Mike Read, in “The Secrets of Songwriting” by Susan Tucker; asked “Is there a certain time of the day you like to write?”:
… I have this little ritual. I love that smell of the first cup of coffee. I love the early morning … I love getting up early, at six o’clock.
It seems that we are most creative in the morning, when we haven’t woken up properly. Is there any scientific evidence to back up this anecdotal evidence?
On December 2, 2007, New Scientist ran an article titled “The Other You”. The article mentions the work of Colin Martindale of the University of Maine in Orono, which is now three decades old. He used an electroencephalogram (EEG) to monitor the brain activity of a creative mind.
He found that there were two distinct stages of brain activity. During the initial “inspiration” stage, the brain is remarkably quiet. Brain activity is dominated by alpha waves, indicating a very low cortical arousal. The second stage is called the “elaboration” stage, and is characterised by more activity, especially in the cortex. It is probably associated with the conscious analysis of ideas. People with the greatest difference in brain activity between these two stages were the most creative.
The point of interest to us is that brain activity during the inspiration stage is very similar to brain activity during dream sleep and relaxation. Jordan Peterson, of the University of Toronto, Canada, believes that creativity involves the overflow of subconscious information into consciousness. Thus, to tap the rich mental resources of the subconscious, it is best to catch your conscious mind while it is still half asleep.
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