Saturday, August 4, 2012

Deborah Underwood: The Power of Quiet

Deborah begins by confessing that she is addicted to Project Runway, she says for the little window in on the creative process (and not Tim Gunn's moxie). The creative process is such a mystery, says Deborah, that it's no wonder the Greeks thought all inspiration was derived from outside sources like the Muses, and not from within us.

If we don't understand how we get our ideas, we authors and illustrators don't have control over how successful we are in our everyday work.

"I don't know about you, but that makes me a little bit nervous!" says Deborah, "Imagine an accountant saying, 'Man, I really hope I remember how to do math today.'"

Deborah makes the analogy of how most of us without a PhD don't exactly understanding how our bodies work on a cellular level, but that there are a few best practices even us shlubs know to follow to keep ourselves in good health, like exercising, or not having only gummi bears and mimosas for lunch.

One of Deborah's favorite quotes: "Silence is the door into the temple." -- Mary Oliver

Deborah thinks we should practice Absence of Focus Activity Quiet or Christopher Robin Quiet.
This type of quiet is important because it gives your mind time and space to wander, to come up with new connections, to daydream and solve problems.

People who consistently daydream more score consistently higher on measures of creativity, says Deborah, and that the space and quiet that idleness provides is paradoxically necessary to get any work done.

Deborah gives us some ideas on building more quiet into our lives—attending boring events, arriving extra early to appointments and leaving all of your electronic device elsewhere, buying a stupidphone instead of a smartphone, and installing Freedom on your computer.

"We don't owe it to ourselves to make time for quiet, we owe it to the kids that will read our books."

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