Gabrielle Williams on what makes the magic happen



the guy the girl the artist and his ex (gab williams)

To coincide with the release today of her book, The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and his Ex, I asked Gabrielle Williams if she’d like to do a guest post on where she writes.

But then things took a detour. If you have read Gab’s work that should come as no surprise at all. 

Gab seemed more interested in surveying me. What did I think about environment as an aid to creativity? What were my daily rituals? As we talked more, I discovered why. Turns out Gab’s formulated some pretty specific thoughts on nurturing creativity and how you can make the most of yours, and she’s generously agreed to share them. Here’s Gab to tell you about what makes the magic happen.

I’ve been asked ‘where do ideas come from?’ so often, I started wondering if there really was a definitive answer, rather than my usual, ‘wouldn’t have a clue’. Did environment have anything to do with it? Was it possible that certain foods could trigger creativity? Was it something to do with the month you were born in? Whether you were wealthy or poor? The suburb you lived in? The weather, even?

I read Malcolm Gladwell’s, ‘Outliers’, Daniel Pink’s, ‘Drive’, and Norman Doidge’s, ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’, to see if I could find any answers there. I spoke to nutritionists, sports psychologists, accountants and real estate agents (about the prevalence of creativity in certain suburbs). I interviewed friends of mine who were authors, artists, actors, acrobats and other occupations that start with ‘a’ like architects and archaeologists.

As I delved deeper, I started getting some really interesting answers.

As it turns out, there are particular things you can do to trigger ideas in the brain, whether you consider yourself to be the ‘creative’ type or not.

First of all, the foods you eat are a factor. A diet high in brussel sprouts has been found to be associated with increased creativity. Ideally you should include them in every meal, but if you can only stomach the idea of eating brussel sprouts once a day, it’s recommended that you have them for breakfast (shaved onto your cereal is surprisingly tasty) so that you can start your morning with a creative kick.

Sprouts sprout ideas
Spouts help ideas sprout!

What side of the bed you sleep on makes a difference too. People who tend to be creative are thought to be ‘right-brained’, so if you sleep on the left side of the bed you give your right-brain a better quality of rest, ensuring that it wakes up more refreshed, revitalized and creative than if you slept on the right-side of the bed (squashing your right-brain against the pillow and making it feel stuffy and sluggish).

Another surprising find is that your height makes a difference. Taller people have been found to be more creative. The reasons are unclear, but one hypothesis is that ideas are circulating above our heads all the time, and if you’re taller, the ideas find it easier to plop into your brain. Of course, this makes it difficult for short people but it’s been discovered that wearing high heels can help, because the heels bring the top of your head into closer proximity with those low-flying ideas.

Brain boosters
Brain boosters

It also helps to have a sense of humour, especially when particularly cruel writers play April Fools pranks on you (like, for example, telling you to eat brussel sprouts and that being tall and sleeping on the left side of the bed helps).

Happy April Fools Day!


PS Ideas? Who knows where the hell they come from.

PPS The fact that my book, ‘The Guy The Girl The Artist and His Ex’ comes out today is the only true thing in this whole entire post.

PPPS If Kirsty tries to say she had no idea this post was a prank, don’t believe her. She was in on it right from the start.

PPPPS There is no PPPPS

And here I was with a bowl of brussel sprouts to hand … Thank you Gab! Welcome to the world, The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and his Ex! Happy April Fool’s everybody!

PPPPPS If, like me, you do actually love a brussel sprout, shaved or otherwise, then you might be interested to know that the first annual Brussel Sprouts Festival is about to be staged. I know this courtesy of Gab. If you’re wary, don’t be – she shared this info with me on a different date. More can be learned here