Monday, August 5, 2013

A Mainstay for Writers

Bread was considered the staff of life at one time; nowadays, it is considered bad for people.  So I began to wonder what is the equivalent staple for writers and writing--what is one thing a writer cannot do without--and if people's opinions about this staple had changed over time.  So I hopped on Google in hopes of finding some writing techniques to blog about or elements of writing.  I was ready to type in those keywords.

Instead I typed in "puzzles help your brain."

Why?  Because my brain got ahead me, skipping back to an ad I had seen last week and what had happened as a result of the ad. 

This ad involved using brain exercises as part of the treatment of ADD and other cognitive disorders.  When I saw it last week, I thought why not give it a try, the cheap way?  So I bought a variety puzzle book that week.

Back to today.  My search turned up an interesting article by Marcel Danesi, "Brain Workout."  It had this quote worth pulling out:

The psychologists Sternberg and Davidson argued, as far back as 1982 (Psychology Today, Volume 16, pp. 37-44), that solving puzzles entails the ability to compare hidden information in a puzzle with information already in memory, and, more importantly, the ability to combine the information to form novel information and ideas. The thinking involved in solving puzzles can thus be characterized as a blend of imaginative association and memory. It is this blend, I would claim, that leads us to literally see the pattern or twist that a puzzle conceals. It is a kind of "clairvoyance" that typically provokes an Aha! effect.
That sounds a lot like creativity benefits to me.  So even if I don't see ADD benefits from my variety puzzles, I might see some other benefits instead. 

And that wraps me back around to the point of this post.  The writer's mainstay probably isn't a technique or an element of writing, something that changes over time as literature and culture changes.  Rather, it is in the brain.  It is in its creativity.  So it is important to treat the brain right, feed it right, and I'm going to try to do that through brain exercises.

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