In his Warming up Patrick Rhone points to the value of writing anything first thing in the morning. He borrows from Julia Cameron’s “morning pages,” popularized in her book The Artist’s Way. Like Rhone, Roxana Robinson’s morning routine includes both coffee and writing. For Rhone, Robinson, and Cameron the morning routine awakens creativity.
Whatever mechanism links these morning routines to creativity, the key seems to be in establishing a routine. In “Blocked” Joan Acocella offered a number of examples of authors who were both creative and productive. In each case, creativity was subsumed under their routine. Maybe we need to invert our easy assumption: They didn’t write because they were creative. They were creative because they wrote.
The many studies by Robert Boice seem to reinforce the importance of routine—short, scheduled writing—not just for quantity but also the novelty or creativity (however that is measured). The act of writing stimulates creative thought, it seems (see this recent analysis and this one for further discussion and some numbers).
Perhaps we, students and faculty, should rely less on technological solutions, though there are many of those, and more on the low-tech and decidedly unhip routine.