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Are you a creative eccentric? Embrace it

I am not like most people.

I figured this out when one of my family members pointed out something I was doing and said, “most people don’t do that.”

It made me think about the fact that I have never felt “normal” or that I “fit in.”

I asked some of my friends about this and found that many of my writer friends feel the same way. In fact, my blogging partner Carol was so sure as a child that she must have been adopted, she would search her house looking for adoption papers.

In an article in the Winter 2014 issue of Scientific American Mind — The Mad Science of Creativity – Harvard researcher Shelley Carson wrote an article called “The Unleashed Mind,” about the connection between eccentricity and creativity.

For instance, in Carson’s research some creative students report magical thinking, such as a belief in telepathic communication. Creative eccentrics are also more likely to experience unusual perceptual experiences, such as having frequent déjà vu and hearing voices or sensing the presence of another person who isn’t there.

Eccentric people may inherit unconventional modes of thinking and perceiving associated with schizophrenia without inheriting the disease itself, Carson writes. These people are also high functioning with a biological makeup that helps protect them from mental illnesses. Their working memory and IQ protect them from being overwhelmed by their unusual thoughts and sensations and they turn those feelings and ideas into creative inspiration.

Creative people often have — what some people might consider — odd rituals around their work.

Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood, was known for writing lying down. Victor Hugo stripped down before he began writing for the day, not dressing again until he was done.

I have friends who must have things arranged a certain way on their desk before they can write, insist on drinking a specific blend or type of coffee or tea, or wear a specific piece of clothing when they write.

Author Jonathan Franzen secludes himself to write in a cold, dark office with no Internet or phone as soon after waking as possible. Read more about Franzen’s routine in this blog post.

Call us obsessive or odd, some people think we’re downright weird.

If you fit into this model of “not fitting,” I say, embrace it. Love yourself for your creative eccentricity.

For more information about enhancing your creative potential, check out Carson’s book, Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a great post. I recognise myself in a lot of this. I’d say which parts but I’d just come across as weird 😉

    May 22, 2014
    • 🙂 Weird is awesome. A gift. Thanks for your comment, Rebecca!

      May 23, 2014

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