Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Creative Brain State

I like listening to podcasts. In fact, I probably spend ten hours or more each week just commuting to & from work so I have a lot of time to consume them. Most of them are factual, though. It could be psychology, politics, philosophy, theology, gaming. Only rarely do I find an audio drama.

By the way, if you like audio drama then I recommend Homecoming by Gimlet Media. Wow. Beautifully done.

My monthly gaming group is also quite a drive away from my home so I tend to listen to podcasts on that drive too. However, I've begun to suspect that the podcast content is starting to affect my gameplay. There are ways to affect a human mental state; to guide it towards a particular way of thinking. You can set yourself up for an analytic mental state, or a creative mental state, for example. To get into a creative mental state you can let your mind wander. It needs freedom from structures to be able to do that.

When I'm driving and listening to an informative podcast at the same time then I'm imposing structure on my cognitive processes. To be a good driver and a good student, I need to maintain that discipline. However, when I've arrived at the game and am sitting down at the table to play my mental state is far from creative. If I'm honest with myself I think it shows in how I play. I tend to drive the plot around accomplishments more than around character and I think that's a bit less appealing to both me and the other players.

So now I have a plan; an experiment, if you will. I have a game this Sunday and the long drive awaits. Inasmuch as I don't want to drive in silence the whole time, I think I'll give at least ten minutes (or a little more) of silence or music just to let my mind wander. If everything goes well then I'll have the right mental state for a story game.

Edit: Actually, looks like I'm picking up a couple of the other players on the way. But still, the theory holds!