Writers! Your mental health is key to creative success.

It has long been the unwritten, yet accepted ideal that mental illness, and negative moods contribute positively to a poet’s creativity.

Research supports quite the contrary. Alice M. Isen, a professor of Psychology and Marketing at Cornell, has found positive affect (a.k.a. feeling) helps creativity.

Being in a good mood and staying on top of your mental cobwebs:

  • makes additional cognitive material available for processing, increasing the number of cognitive elements available for association
  • leads to defocused attention and a more complex cognitive context, increasing the breadth of elements treated as relevant to the problem
  • increases cognitive flexibility, increasing the probability that diverse cognitive elements will in fact become associated

When these happen in cohesion, it does everything but drain your brain. So, the next time you have a tagline, or novel to write, take a deep breath, a walk, or conduct a massive brainstorming session, to clear your mental sphere. Open your mind. Get into the right mood to create and you’re sure to see results.

According to the beloved Plath, “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”