By Milli ThorntonWe get oodles of feedback about how much people love the 10K Days, but I’ve never stopped to examine in writing why it works. I could probably write a small book on this topic, but to contain this in a blog post let’s look at two sides of the gold coin: science and magic.
In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald last month, Megan Johnston interviewed a professor who said: “You can’t force creativity, but you can maximize your ability to get in a creative sense of mind.”
Entitled “Unleash Your Inner Genius,” the article explores ways this can be done: everything from old-fashioned daydreaming to a “thinking cap” developed by researchers at the University of Sydney. The caps aims to foster creativity by applying electrical stimulation to the brain.
Scientists have been finding that “not only is creative ability measurable, most people can hone it.” The good news for us? Nearly everything the article mentions as ways to hone creativity comes built in to the 10K Day.
How’s this for exciting? A study at Johns Hopkins University found that “the areas of the brain that regulate inhibition and self-monitoring shut down during improvisation. Self-expression and self-direction, on the other hand, switch on, while sensory awareness increases.”
Another professor shared that it’s critical in a good creative method to identify your aim or question before breaking it into parts. Yay! Our official goal is 10,000 words (or, less officially, writing lots of words in one day) and we chunk that down into two-hour segments, with regular breaks used to refresh the brain.
Social context also plays a big part. Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, has been gathering evidence for the past 35 years to help “debunk the myth of the lone creative.”
She found things that heighten creativity include positive challenge and strong group support. ”Occasionally, deadlines can also drive innovation, as long as there is a meaningful reason behind them.”
Although I’ve given some of the pertinent points here, the article is well worth reading top to bottom—and bookmarking, for those days when you need a reminder that you’re not crazy . . . just creative! You’ll find a link to the article at the bottom of this post.
Now for some of the magic.
Below is an excerpt used with permission from 10K Day participant, Catherine Greti. Catherine is a graduate of both the Fear of Writing Online Course and the FoW graduate course. She wrote this as part of one of her grad course assignments.
I did my first 10K day with Fear of Writing back in November 2010. It was very exciting for me and I wrote just over 10,000 words of a novel in progress. Since then I have participated in several others.
I love the 10K days but even though it was a triumph for me to write 10K words in one day, I am not making myself do that every time. I’m going with the flow and just writing and having a joyful time with the other people who participate.
Writing 10K words in one day is a bonus of self-esteem building though!
The camaraderie of the 10K days is one of the most special things about it. You make new writing friends and find out tips for your dedicated writing day.
I highly recommend the 10K days!
If you enjoy the 10K Days, please leave a comment to tell us why. If you haven’t tried one yet, don’t be daunted by the number. You’ll be loved no matter how many words you write! Everybody wins just by showing up and expressing their creativity.
Milli Thornton is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and Milliver’s Travels and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse.