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Joy Ann Ribar on The Party in Your Brain

Joy Ann Ribar is the author of the Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery series. You can find out more about her on her website at, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here.

This week is World Creativity and Innovation Week, declared by the United Nations. Its aim is to empower creativity from all people in all functions of life to improve our world. That may sound lofty and maybe even cliché to some, but according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, every occupational field in the world is seeking creative minds to move the world forward in the 21st century. In the world we live in, creativity has become an essential skill and tool for a better future.

At every author presentation, discussion, or workshop I’ve been part of, I meet people who tell me they have no creativity. This makes me frown at best and causes my hair to stand on end at worst. Of course you have creativity, I always say. And it is the truth. The idea that each of us is right-brained (where creativity tends to dominate) or left-brained (where logical sequential thinking reigns) is not an all-or-nothing notion. Both hemispheres of our dynamic brains are connected with nerve pathways that communicate and work together. I call it the party in your brain.

The key to creativity is to cultivate it, like a garden. The soil is already present, it just needs fertilizing. For instance, listening to music can ignite creative ideas. So can spending time with creative people, or reading, or viewing works of art.

Believe it or not, physical activities stimulate the brain, too. Aerobic exercises work out the brain as well as the body. I can testify to the truth in that, as walking is always my go-to activity when I’m stuck in a writing tangle I can’t find my way through. A good walk in nature or other change of scenery makes the creative syrup pour.

Psychologists also encourage us to be lifelong learners, whether it’s a new hobby like cooking or quilting or a skill like self-defense or carpentry. Learning stimulates the creativity in the brain. I recently met several people from Quebec while traveling, and I wanted to really talk with them beyond exchanging a few pleasantries. So, I started learning French about 75 days ago. My husband did, too, and we will put it to the test in July when we visit Quebec and meet up with our new friends. In learning French, I discovered how connected it is to English.

The bottom line is that anyone who wants to be creative, can find thousands of ways to do so, and with the world greatly needing everyone’s creative ideas and energy, now is the perfect time to activate yours.

The World Creativity and Innovation Week celebrates creativity of all sorts and empowers individuals to share their everyday creative ideas and to collaborate with others to find answers to problems. Because creative thinkers are able to see problems as opportunities, almost everything has multiple right answers from a creative standpoint. 

One of my favorite events posted on the website is the Global Innovation Field Trip (GIFT) which is a 24-hour online multi-national field trip. This World Learning gathering of young innovators celebrates those who educate, inspire and sponsor innovation.   

Another, located in California, entitled About Face, is an exhibit of portraits. Since portrait creation dates back 12,000 years, we can learn from these faces, through the ages, what cultures and societies valued and found significant in their time.

My home state, Wisconsin, is sponsoring its annual Create Wisconsin Day, a gathering in Madison of hundreds of people to learn, connect and promote arts, culture, and creativity.

You can check out ways to participate in this celebration and find all listed events at

The world is a better place for its diversity of creative minds, and this week of dedicated events stresses how important creativity is. According to an article in Fast Company, we are living in the age of the creative mind. The article discusses eight reasons creatives will rule the world. Michael O. Cooper writes, “Storytelling is paramount in making connections with people and generating enthusiasm for creative innovation. In sharing our stories, we generate empathy and collaborative commitment…”

I steadfastly believe that the stories we tell will always matter. Never doubt that somewhere out there is a reader who needed to read or hear your story for a particular moment in their life. It was your words that mattered and that is why words have power.  

Joy Ribar

Joy Ann Ribar writes the Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery series, inspired by Wisconsin’s four seasons and friendly quirks. You can find out more about her on her website, where you can sign up for her newsletter, or follow her on Facebook, or Instagram.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    What an inspiring post! After watching last night’s 60 Minutes segment on artificial intelligence, I’m convinced that creativity is needed more than ever in order to keep humans relevant and essential. Let’s all follow Joy’s advice and tap into our creative potentials.

    1. Joy Ann Ribar
      Joy Ann Ribar

      Thank you, Saralyn for a critical connection to the potential future of the human creative. A good time to hone our skills.

  2. Sheila Lowe
    Sheila Lowe

    Handwriting stimulates creativity, too. Recent research shows that especially cursive styles of writing (which doesn’t mean sticking to the school copybook) light up more complex areas of the brain than when using the keyboard or even printing. When I get stuck on a scene, I start handwriting it and find all sorts of new ideas coming in. Even if you just draw lines of large loops, especially when done to music, it will unlock ideas you never knew you had.

    1. Joy Ann Ribar
      Joy Ann Ribar

      That’s an excellent remark, Sheila and something to keep in mind. We have become so reliant on keyboarding. Handwriting is such a critical skill. I’m sad it’s falling by the wayside.

  3. Sherrill Joseph
    Sherrill Joseph

    Joy, I resonated especially with this line in your post: “I steadfastly believe that the stories we tell will always matter.” Agreed! A theme in my WIP, Book 5, is that artists/creatives, through their work, share with the world now but also posthumously. These “legacies” can benefit others indefinitely–what I call achieving a kind of “earthly immortality.” Such ideas give me hope as I write. I suspect for you, too. Thanks for your uplifting post!

    1. Joy Ann Ribar
      Joy Ann Ribar

      Absolutely true, Sherrill. I love that ancient texts have relevance today. Hearing the voices from the past continues to inform the present.

  4. Christine DeSmet
    Christine DeSmet

    Joy, what a great post. It’s a good reminder of how special we humans are and that we’re creative in so many ways. I’m reminded of my mother’s creativity through her canning, cooking, baking, sewing for us kids, singing, playing piano, gardening, tending to farm animals and sick kids and solving problems, and so on. Just living our lives is one creative adventure after another if we dare to live it that way. And I’m with you about walks in nature. I ask a writing/plotting question of myself at the beginning of the walk, then find the answer after the walk. It works every time.

  5. Joy Ann Ribar
    Joy Ann Ribar

    I love that you walk with a specific purpose in mind. And, thank you for sharing the memories of your mother. I can see how special she is and that she passed on the importance of taking time to be creative.

  6. Valerie Biel
    Valerie Biel

    Beautiful post!! I always say that writing (being creative) as my best anti-dementia campaign. Plus, I’m just a nicer person when I get time to be creative!!

    1. joyribar

      Oh Val, you said a mouthful right there!

  7. Avatar
    Margaret Mizushima

    Love this very timely post, Joy! I agree that everyone is capable of creativity–there are so many ways it manifests that we all lose track.

    1. joyribar

      I agree, Margaret. I wish we could just stare off into space in our favorite places every day and let the creativity bloom.

  8. Sharon Lynn
    Sharon Lynn

    What a delightful and inspiring post! Thank you, Joy! I’ve had students who, as freshmen, complain they have no creativity and are creating amazing works by the time they graduate. It is one of the best feelings to see someone’s creativity blossom!

    1. joyribar

      Right on, Sharon Lynn! The most rewarding part of teaching, I think.

  9. Laurie Buchanan
    Laurie Buchanan

    Joy — Oh, how I enjoyed this post! I never knew about World Creativity and Innovation Week, so I learned something new. I followed the link you provided to find events and learned even more new things. Thank you, you creative and innovative font of knowledge, you!

    1. joyribar

      Thank you, Laurie. You’re very kind. I love to learn and I know I have tons of good company in this group.

  10. Tracey Phillips
    Tracey Phillips

    How inspiring, Joy! In an age where people are trying to ban book, we need more thought provoking posts like this! Ideas like this are golden. I love that 160 countries are involved in the World Creativity and Innovation Week. That website is a treasure trove of beauty and inspiration. Thank you!

  11. joyribar

    I agree with you, Tracey. The creatives of the world need to be heard and seen. I love hearing that our century will rely on creatives to make the world better.

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