Approaching Writer’s Block from a French Polymath’s Perspective

Writer’s block is an all-too-familiar obstacle in many a person’s life.  We sit at our desks fervently trying to think of the next inspiration, perusing news articles and relevant stories, or go through the day constantly thinking about the topic.  Last week’s article in Brain Pickings, however, states that this relentless pursuit of our next spurt of genius might be the wrong way to go about it.

Image from Brain Pickings

Image from Brain Pickings

Henri Poincaré, a French polymath and mathematician, wrote in the early 1900’s of the connection between unconscious processing and creativity.  According to him, procrastination could actually be anything but, as the mind unconsciously thinks and processes while we do other things:

I turned my attention to the study of some arithmetical questions apparently without much success and without a suspicion of any connection with my preceding researches. Disgusted with my failure, I went to spend a few days at the seaside and thought of something else. One morning, walking on the bluff, the idea came to me, with just the same characteristics of brevity, suddenness and immediate certainty, that the arithmetic transformations of indefinite ternary quadratic forms were identical with those of non-Euclidian geometry.

If you ever needed an excuse to take a break and go out, here it is!

Read the full article here.

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