5

votes

Anyone else feeling more creative?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 09, 2011 at 3:45 PM

I've been doing Paleo (ish) for a couple of months now, and I've seen one very welcome change-my creativity is through the roof.

Now, I'm a fiction writer, so creativity is my business, and had been on a series of killer deadlines for about the last 18 months, so about the time I went paleo, I'm pretty sure I was pushing adrenal fatigue or emotional burnout or something. I was frustrated because my usual "I have so many ideas I can't possibly write them all in this lifetime" sensibility had changed to "eh, I'd rather veg on the couch and read someone else's book" and I just didn't have the emotional oomph/concentration/desire to really develop the ideas that I did have, and was pushing them aside. Now, I'm once again boiling over with ideas for stories, new projects, new ways to approach my kid's education (I homeschool), etc etc etc. And despite no longer staying up until 2 in the morning, I've found the time to play with the stories and work with plot/character/etc. Frankly, I'm a little afraid I'll get back into burnout b/c there's SO many things I want to pursue!

Obviously the better sleep helps (I was a horrible insomniac; no longer. In bed by 10ish and up by 5:30ish w/o an alarm), and I do consider that part and parcel of a paleo lifestyle. But I also know that a low fat diet can promote depression, and I'm anything but low fat these days.

Anyone have thoughts on this? Not on writing specifically, but just general creativity? (I'm also finding that my kids, who are paleo-in-the-house/whatever-out-with-friends seem to have ramped up a bit, too, though they've always been extremely imaginative.)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 09:06 PM

A friend of mine who's traveled in Indonesia says that everyone there is expected to contribute something creative to the community, whether in music, costume, dance, decoration, or whatever. I think that even though some people specialize a bit more in one thing or another, creativity is part of everyone's birthright, like language, or more basic things: physical mobility, sex, fighting, even.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 09:05 PM

A friend of mine who's traveled in Indonesia says that everyone there is expected to contribute something creative to the community, whether in music, costume, dance, decoration. I think that even though some people specialize a bit *more* in one thing or another, creativity is part of everyone's birthright, like language, or even more basic things, like physical mobility, sex, and fighting.

E06dcdb3f856057025e9776e038d8072

(305)

on September 09, 2011
at 05:33 PM

That's wonderful! Quite possibly just coincidental, but both my kids take piano, and since we've started paleo, the younger one especially has improved remarkably. It may just be that she hit *that* age/maturity level, but I'm seeing it in her piano and in her school work. Interestingly, she was my carbo-holic. If it was pasta or a cracker, she wanted it. Now, she's paleo at home and her concentration/comprehension is better and her piano teacher is praising her up and down.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 05:24 PM

Great points about both Lascaux and Beowulf. Yes, Beowulf in particular is very obviously dark and filled with regrets for past (sinful) ways of living (weregeld and so on). And although literary historians pay most of their attention to its temporal location on the cusp of Christianization, I wonder if considering the course of the development and expansion of *agriculture* might be another fruitful route of inquiry.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on September 09, 2011
at 05:09 PM

I'm with you Rose. Even before that period, though, there has always been a very dark element in human art. Just take Beowulf, for example, or any of the Shakespearian tragedies. Even the cave paintings at Lascaux, to me, seem to be trying to capture the beauty, but also the immense danger that these powerful beasts posed to early man, and the intense desire and allure of the hunt, the violence. I think there's always been a dark side to man and his art, and some people are just more attuned to it.

E06dcdb3f856057025e9776e038d8072

(305)

on September 09, 2011
at 05:07 PM

Thanks! It can definitely be a challenge. Worth it...but challenging :)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 05:00 PM

There's a lot to talk about in this post, Futureboy. I've wondered at the tendency for Western art to veer increasingly toward the dark, the angry, the alienated, starting around the time of the Romantics--or maybe even sooner--in both music and painting. The whole question of the "purpose" and "function" of art is complicated by this marked shift in Western art. Could this shift be due to a collective agro-industrial malaise, expressed by the artists who are, in a sense, a society's "voice"?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on September 09, 2011
at 04:48 PM

happy songs are kinda lame though...

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 09, 2011
at 04:43 PM

Write happy songs!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Interesting about the improvement in piano playing. It makes me wonder about neurological and fine motor control issues...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 04:36 PM

Nice question! And congrats on finding the spring of ideas again. I'm always especially impressed by creative people with kids; that's a lot to juggle.

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5 Answers

3
F3176aa8463fe7f416f4da0d04974c1d

(1392)

on September 09, 2011
at 04:12 PM

Absolutely! I've always written poetry, but stopped for the last year or two of eating SAD... When I switched to Paleo, it was like that creative spark was ignited again, and I've been writing a lot ever since (a year and a half ago!). I also found a tremendous improvement in my piano playing-- I've improved more since switching to Paleo than during the 4 or 5 years prior... most likely because my concentration is so much better now!

Now I'm all "I want to play piano!" and "I want to write poetry!" and "I want to arrange music!" It's pretty fantastic.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Interesting about the improvement in piano playing. It makes me wonder about neurological and fine motor control issues...

E06dcdb3f856057025e9776e038d8072

(305)

on September 09, 2011
at 05:33 PM

That's wonderful! Quite possibly just coincidental, but both my kids take piano, and since we've started paleo, the younger one especially has improved remarkably. It may just be that she hit *that* age/maturity level, but I'm seeing it in her piano and in her school work. Interestingly, she was my carbo-holic. If it was pasta or a cracker, she wanted it. Now, she's paleo at home and her concentration/comprehension is better and her piano teacher is praising her up and down.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on September 09, 2011
at 08:58 PM

I am not in a creative field, but since going Paleo I have definitely had more bursts of creativity. I have often toyed with writing some fiction and actually wrote a few chapters and fragments recently. I have also renewed my interest in the guitar.

It isn't like the Paleo diet has sparked creativity, but the diet has given me more energy, a more balanced mental state, and helped me to manage stress and sleep, so I have more "space" to let my mind work creatively. A great unexpected benefit.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 09:06 PM

A friend of mine who's traveled in Indonesia says that everyone there is expected to contribute something creative to the community, whether in music, costume, dance, decoration, or whatever. I think that even though some people specialize a bit more in one thing or another, creativity is part of everyone's birthright, like language, or more basic things: physical mobility, sex, fighting, even.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 09:05 PM

A friend of mine who's traveled in Indonesia says that everyone there is expected to contribute something creative to the community, whether in music, costume, dance, decoration. I think that even though some people specialize a bit *more* in one thing or another, creativity is part of everyone's birthright, like language, or even more basic things, like physical mobility, sex, and fighting.

1
Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

on September 09, 2011
at 05:01 PM

I'm a doctoral student and I definitely notice a difference when it comes to studying now that I'm paleo. I can sit down and study for long periods of time and actually remember what I'm studying. This was never a possibility in the past, I always thought I've had ADD. I assume it's a combination of a happier brain thanks to good fat intake + better sleep + a calmer mind thanks to less sugar. I also had mild depression when I was eating SAD and I've never been happier than I am now. The link between a paleo diet and mental disorders is hopefully going to be the focus of my research. So not strictly creative benefits but yes paleo has done fantastic things for my brain.

1
Medium avatar

on September 09, 2011
at 04:41 PM

I've been wrestling with this a little bit lately.

As a musician, songwriter and lyricist, I find that most of my creative outlet is driven by strong emotion. I've always been less cerebral and more heart-driven in my endeavors. I feel a bit flattened out lately, emotionally speaking, which of course negatively affects my creative impulses.

I definitely wouldn't trade my emotional state now for what it used to be. This way of life has really improved my clarity, focus, emotional stability and ability to be happy. But I think it has made me...less vibrant? Maybe vibrant is not the right word. Isolation, loneliness, anger, heartbreak and manic-depressive feelings can be powerfully evocative, and I always worked out my angst or happiness through lyrics. I just don't feel the impulse as strongly these days.

EDIT: I will say, Paleo set me on the right path emotionally and mentally. I'm also in a stable serious relationship for the first time in my life, and happier than I've ever been, so maybe that's it.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on September 09, 2011
at 04:48 PM

happy songs are kinda lame though...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 05:00 PM

There's a lot to talk about in this post, Futureboy. I've wondered at the tendency for Western art to veer increasingly toward the dark, the angry, the alienated, starting around the time of the Romantics--or maybe even sooner--in both music and painting. The whole question of the "purpose" and "function" of art is complicated by this marked shift in Western art. Could this shift be due to a collective agro-industrial malaise, expressed by the artists who are, in a sense, a society's "voice"?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 09, 2011
at 04:43 PM

Write happy songs!

Medium avatar

(5639)

on September 09, 2011
at 05:09 PM

I'm with you Rose. Even before that period, though, there has always been a very dark element in human art. Just take Beowulf, for example, or any of the Shakespearian tragedies. Even the cave paintings at Lascaux, to me, seem to be trying to capture the beauty, but also the immense danger that these powerful beasts posed to early man, and the intense desire and allure of the hunt, the violence. I think there's always been a dark side to man and his art, and some people are just more attuned to it.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 05:24 PM

Great points about both Lascaux and Beowulf. Yes, Beowulf in particular is very obviously dark and filled with regrets for past (sinful) ways of living (weregeld and so on). And although literary historians pay most of their attention to its temporal location on the cusp of Christianization, I wonder if considering the course of the development and expansion of *agriculture* might be another fruitful route of inquiry.

1
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 04:22 PM

Most definitely. I've been a painter and writer most of my adult life, but always in air quotes -- I've never had the drive, it seems, to make my creative pursuits my main source of income. But starting a couple years ago, I noticed that I had much more mental energy to devote to creative pursuits, and in fact, felt driven to find a serious outlet for the energy. I enrolled in tons of classes (from cartooning to stand-up comedy), with the conscious goal of finding something to put in the center of my creative life (painting and writing, for various reasons, were not the ticket).

I found that thing about a year ago (jewelry making, which really surprised the heck out of me), and am hard at work making it my next career.

I don't really know what's behind that new drive. I think part of the credit's due to the fact that I no longer devote so much energy to battling hunger -- I've mentioned elsewhere that it was as if a constantly barking dog in my head finally went to sleep. But part of it is also that making things feels like something I would naturally do more of in any setting -- some people are likelier to lead exploratory parties (that would be my husband, lol), some people to be better hunters or warriors, and I'm one of the ones that would sit around coming up with new ways to stitch fur and decorate ourselves. Or at least it's fun to imagine that.

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