Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Curiosity--it Might Have Killed The Cat, But It's Vital For Writers

It's generally agreed, when our ancestors left Africa to populate the rest of the world they were driven by concerns of  climate and population growth. I believe another reason needs to be considered--curiosity.

The innate curiosity of our species has been responsible for every advance, development, discovery you might consider. Have you heard the story about Isaac Newton poking himself in the eye with a needle? He did it as a scientific experiment. I'd say that's carrying curiosity to the extreme. Still, without curiosity, there can be no driving force.

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind. Samuel Johnson

Curiosity is immensely important to writers, too. It fires our imagination, makes us ask--what if?.. Come on, admit it, you're as nosey as me. All writers eaves-drop. Well, we do, don't we? I know I've got my fill of story ideas and other useful details that way.

We have seen that central among the traits that define a creative person are two somewhat opposed tendencies: a great deal of curiosity and openness on the one hand, and an almost obsessive perseverance on the other. Both of these have to be present for a person to have fresh ideas and then to make them prevail. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity

All children come with curiosity. They want to touch, taste, smell, eat every little thing they can grab in their sticky little fingers. They're also trying to understand this world they've been born into. Asking questions: Why am I here? What am I supposed to do here? Why is that geek making faces and speaking gibberish to me?

It's all part of the learning process--the importance of which doesn't diminish with age.

For many adults, curiosity begins to dim in the wake of other, more worldly concerns. For writers, it's important for us to preserve our sense of curiosity, even enhance it if we can.
I'm not suggesting you turn yourself in a Miss Marple. But, if something sparks your interest, chase it and see where it may lead you.


14 comments:

  1. Fascinating observations, John. Always a treat to visit your blogs. (when I am not minding someone else's business ha ha).

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    1. Hah. Like the admission. Thanks for commenting, Margaret.

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  2. I think you're right, John. We always wonder what's over the next hill. And - what happens if I poke at this?

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    1. Right you are. Thanks for stopping by, Dac.

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  3. Great post, John! I've also learned that people who talk on cell phones tend to speak more loudly and sometimes you learn interesting things, and other times you hear things that you wish you hadn't. : )

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    1. Hah. Been there, done that, too, Marja. Thanks.

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  4. Great blog, John. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but I'll bet he died satisfied. What's over that next hill? I feel sorry for the folks I've met who never asked, never looked into the night sky and wondered.

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    1. Yes, there are those people. Thanks, Larry.

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  5. I enjoyed this. If you have a character in your story or book who's any sort of sleuth, they'll need that curiosity.

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    1. Yes, indeed. Thanks for commenting Linda. Glad you enjoyed the read.

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  6. No one has any idea how curious (nosy) I am! And I've made my sleuth just as nosy, and a writer to boot.

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  7. My curiousity is a little bit obsessive. However, the need to follow leads has worked well in my former life as a narcotics secretary and now as a writer. I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING.

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    1. I guess I could blame mine on my newspaper career, too. But, like you, I want to know everything. Thanks, Sunny.

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