Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity

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9780898799293: Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity

Provides advice from experienced authors on the process of writing and explains how to get into the state of flow easily

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In Writing in Flow, Susan K. Perry applies the theories of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow) about the concept of "flow" to the writing process. A writer's being in flow is comparable to an athlete's being in a "zone." "You know you've been in flow," Perry says, "when time seems to have disappeared.... You become so deeply immersed ... that you forget yourself and your surroundings." For this book, Perry interviewed 76 authors--including T. Coraghessan Boyle, Sue Grafton, Donald Hall, and Jane Smiley--about their experiences with flow. How often do they experience it? What does it feel like? How does one encourage it? How does the writing that occurs during a flow state differ from that which is achieved in a more belabored manner? While the book often reads a little too much like the doctoral thesis it once was, Perry has culled some fascinating insights into the creative process from a terrific collection of writers.

Flow happens, Perry suggests, "when our mind or body is voluntarily stretched to its limit." How you experience flow depends on who you are. If you're a deep sleeper, for instance, you may also be more likely able to enter a deep flow state. For some writers, flow occurs during every writing session; for others, it is more elusive. There are those few who neither experience nor court it. "Nothing flows in my writing process," says John Irving. "My job is to make it flow for the reader, and that is a very deliberate, very slow, very unflowing process." But Irving is plainly in the minority. Most of the writers interviewed here cherish the flow state above all else. "It is the possibility of re-creating these moments," says Faye Moskowitz, "that keeps me going as a writer." Flow "seems to me the way life should always be," adds Lynne Sharon Schwartz, "freed from time and petty daily concerns and all forms of self-consciousness except the very deepest." --Jane Steinberg

About the Author:

Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., a social psychologist and writing consultant, was educated at U.C.L.A., Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, and The Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, where she earned her doctorate in Human Development in 1996. She has taught writing at various University Extension programs, such as U.C.L.A., U.C. Irvine, and California State Fullerton, and she also teaches writing online through Writer's Digest. She has taught psychology at Woodbury University in Burbank.

In addition to her Los Angeles Times bestseller WRITING IN FLOW, her previous books include Fun Time, Family Time; The 12-Month Pregnancy (with Barry Herman, M.D.); and the award-winning Playing Smart: A Parent's Guide to Enriching, Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4-14. Dr. Perry has written more than 700 articles on psychological and other topics for such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, USA Today, Billboard, Woman's World, Child, Parenting, and many others. A Contributing Editor to L.A. Parent and Valley magazines, she has also published numerous personal essays, book reviews, advice columns, and a sprinkle of poetry.

Among Dr. Perry's awards are the Outstanding Service Article Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the First Place Award of Excellence for Feature Writing given by the Parenting Publications of America. She has been featured as an expert on television, radio, and in a wide variety of publications, such as Ladies' Home Journal, Daily News, Hartford Courant, Suburban Journals of St. Louis, and regularly addresses writers' organizations and classes. She is on the board of the Southern California chapter of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and is a member of the American Psychological Association's Division of Psychology and the Arts. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the poet Stephen Perry.

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