The Aha! effect is a common human experience, it is a moment of insight when clarity occurs. Academic writers experience the Aha! moment in their writing journeys. It could occur at the point when you need creative insight to solve a problem, when you need the right words to present a concept or when trying to grasp the fundamentals of writing itself. We all at different times experience this moment of epiphany, that moment when you suddenly realise!
Scientists believe creative thought is a by product of interactions between Neurons and Nerves hence much of our creative thought occurs outside our consciousness and are beyond our direct control. I’ve had more Aha! experiences in my sleep than when awake. Studies have shown, “increased performance at insight problems if the subjects slept during a break between receiving the problem and solving it. Sleep may function to restructure problems and allow new insights to be realised”. Writers should get more sleep, shouldn’t they?
An unforgettably Aha! experience occurred when I was writing my Masters dissertation, it occurred in my sleep. I was jolted awake realising I just got the connection between my key variables; all of a sudden clarity came. It was a pleasurable feeling of insight, of finally getting it! However, I was too lazy to get up and write. I made a big mistake of going back to bed without taking notes; I did not capture the experience. Though I could remember the main idea, I felt like I lost some important details.
I believe that note taking is very crucial to being an effective academic writer and in spite of the various writing tools available, using the good old pen and paper is still very much relevant. After that experience whenever I anticipate an Aha! moment, I keep a pen and paper in strategic locations like by my bed side, in my hand bag, in the kitchen, by the TV etc, to make sure I effectively capture the Aha! moment when it occurs.
Can an unrecorded Aha! moment come back later to haunt a writer in the form of Cryptomnesia?