Book Swoon | Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire

Book Swoon | Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how my creative process works ― namely why I wake up some mornings with boundless creative energy, and others I wonder if I’ll ever make anything again.  The more I read about studies on creativity, the more I find that these polarized feelings aren’t unusual. Also it seems like the more I know about the creative mind, the less it intimidates me.  So, I’m in the process of reading every book I can find on creativity and I’ll post my reviews here on the blog.  Join me if you want to unravel your own creativity or just learn more about how creative brains work!

In Wired to Create psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and creativity writer Carolyn Gregoire joined forces to unravel the mysteries of creative minds from the viewpoint of science and history.  They explain how writers, artists, and makers throughout history (like Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Michael Jackson, and Thomas Edison) struggled and adapted to their sometimes tumultuous creative minds.

Each chapter explores one of the ten habits and personality traits of highly creative people:

  1. imaginative play

  2. passion

  3. daydreaming

  4. solitude

  5. intuition

  6. openness to experience

  7. mindfulness

  8. sensitivity

  9. turning adversity into advantage

  10. thinking differently

If you’ve ever wondered why you seem to have a messy, unorganized mind, or why you get your best ideas when you’re washing dishes or driving to work (and no ideas come when you’re at your easel/typewriter/studio), then you will love this book.

Some of the most important takeaways from this book are that:

  • artists need time to play and daydream.  I always look for ways to make every task “productive”, and feel guilty when I just take time to do nothing.  This book helps explain how doing nothing IS work for creatives, and in fact it’s the most important work we’ll ever do.

  • creativity is a choice, not an innate personality trait.  The more we practice creative tasks, the more easily our brains can reach a creative state.

  • solitude is essential for creative minds to function properly.  If you don’t allow yourself to have some solitude, the ideas may never come.  Even when we feel guilty telling our friends/family/spouses that we need a few hours alone, we must take that time for the sake of our creativity.

This book has definitely changed my view of my own creative process, and I would recommend it to any creative mind who wants to dig deeper into their creative process!