The Secret to Creativity

By Michelle Griep

When I first started writing, my kids were younger, so I ran away from home one night a week. I met my muse each Thursday evening in the relative peace and quiet of a local coffee shop. Now my baby just turned twenty and I’ve got more time to write . . . but I still don’t write at home. I just can’t.

Why? Great question. I used to think maybe it was because of the siren call of the laundry and/or dishes pile. I mean, there’s always some kind of housework staring me in the face, daring me to watch it grow larger vs. type another word. Or it could just be that my self discipline is out of whack. Or — gasp — maybe I’m a loser addicted to the taste of java and the sound of an espresso machine.

Turns out, though, that none of those is correct. I came across a recent study that justifies all those crazies out there who feel a surge of inspiration in a coffee shop. So . . . what’s the secret to creativity?

Ambient noise. 

Seriously. And I thought I was getting out of the house to get away from noise. Sheesh. But it’s true. Modest ambient noise kick-starts the part of our brains responsible for abstract and creative thinking.

No, I’m not making this up. Check out the study results here (taken from The Atlantic). According to one researcher:

“Instead of burying oneself in a quiet room trying to figure out a solution, walking out of one’s comfort zone and getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas.”

So go ahead. Pack up that laptop and toodle off down to Starbucks. Science just gave you permission.

Michelle’s been
writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Her recent
release is A HEART DECEIVED, a gothic regency put out by David C. Cook (June
2013). If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at or or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest