Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Creativity Moments

When do you get your best ideas for anything?  I've noticed that sometimes, actually most of the time, the best ideas for new posts come right before I go to bed - just before I nod off.  It's a little annoying because most of the time, I tend to forget in the morning what that idea was but I remember that whatever it was, it was good.
I had a good idea for a post last night - and like the usual I forgot.  Oops :)  So I thought anyway I'd do a little research on how people generate ideas.
Occasionally, I am competent enough that I remember these late night ideas; when it happens (which is extremely rare) I write them down in the morning.  I even have a friend who actually keeps a notebook next to her bed so that she can write them down.  I fear that if I did the same, I would probably end up not going to bed at all and peruse the ideas all night long.  Once I get started, it's hard for me to stop.  But it's interesting to see that I never get this fountain of ideas in the daytime - so I did a little research.
According to an UK AOL My Daily article ( it turns out that the brain reorganizes and reconfigures memory while you sleep.  Interesting because a computer actually acts in a similar way.  You know that defragmentation program you can run manually?  Did you know on most modern computers it runs in the middle of the night?  Kinda cute comparison.  Not sure which came first, though... the computer or the human mind???
Another interesting article I read was on CBS (  This article had an interesting paragraph on how Dmitri Mendeleev came up with the periodic table of elements that scientists still use today.  Apparently, he had gotten frustrated for many days and suddenly he woke up to this new idea.  Lucky guy!
As crazy as it sounds, it strikes a familiar chord with what I have experienced.  I don't think of physical things when I sleep - it's just new ideas and not just limited to posts and things.  Very frequently, the things I think of are problems that I had been solving for an entire day.  For example, I did some programming the other day and couldn't debug the program.  In my sleep (or perhaps right before) I thought of the error.  Maybe I am just imagining it, but it turned out that error did cause the problem.  So basically, all I did was think in a different way outside of the box.  According to both articles, this seems plausible.  A little daunting though when it happens in real life.  Almost like an out of body experience.
Oh well... what is the message to take away from this post?  I guess it is to go and get a good night sleep!  And I think I'll do mine just now :)  Night!

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