Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Writing calls on us to find that gold vein of creativity, which is a wondrous experience. Yet one of the toughest aspects of writing is that it requires so much creativity–book idea, hook that communicates quickly and intriguingly, format, word choice, etc.
Writing melds blessing and bane inextricably together.
One way to stimulate creativity, to kick it into gear, to get you cruising “in the zone” is to travel to a new place–or to take a deeper look at a familiar place, seeing it anew.
Tony Hiss’s book, In Motion: The Experience of Travel. Hiss likes to write about travel–not travel guides to Europe or to Africa but more about how travel sets our minds in motion. “Putting our bodies in motion puts our minds in motion. But in what ways?” he asks.
Travel Deep to See Anew
He coined the term “Deep Travel” to explain how travel affects our insights. Deep Travel uses all our senses to take in everything at once. “It’s this remarkable ability that gives us a different perspective, a wide-angle, wide-awake awareness,” Hiss explains.
I recall decades ago the first time I saw the town of Oxford. The train chugged over a hill and there, laying splendidly before us, were buildings all constructed of the same ancient golden stone.
The sun shone down on the city in a glorious, revelatory sort of way that made me think of it as a sort of New Jerusalem. It seemed a heavenly place not because of the employment of brilliant color but instead because of the soft gold that soothed in its beauty.
Now, to the resident of Oxford, riding the train from London is unlikely to stimulate any heavenly thoughts unless the person is weary and oh-so eager to slip on home. That person isn’t likely to even look out the train’s window.
How We Experience the World Can Lead to Creativity
Hiss posits we all have three ways of experiencing the world:
- daydreaming, when we’re free-associating;
- focused attention, when we are concentrating on something;
- and Deep Travel.
School moves us away from daydreaming to focused attention. But Deep Travel isn’t even acknowledged as a way of seeing things.
When we’re in an unfamiliar setting, whether that be a foreign country or parking our car on an unknown street, Deep Travel kicks in. We have to notice everything around us to move forward. Cruise control is turned off; we’re “driving” manually.
Hiss describes Deep Travel as observing “in between” places rather than observing all the obvious aspects of a locale. It calls us to wake up to our surroundings. When we do, our creativity kicks in.
Many of the shots would have surprised a Brit. Sheep dotting an emerald hillside; a front door surrounded by blooming, potted plants; or, as you’ll see here, a staircase in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
I suspect hundreds, if not thousands, of people walk down that staircase on a given day but see only a conveyance to another floor of the museum. But I was in a Deep Travel zone, alert for the new, lovely, or quirky.
When did you experience Deep Travel? How could we use Deep Travel in situations we generally feel we need to endure, such as airplane flights or running errands around town? How could such awareness cause you to see your WIP in a new way?
Looking for a fresh approach to your writing? Read this. Click to tweet.
How to stimulate your writing creativity. Click to tweet.