Big Ideas by Jennifer Beckstrand and Craig Case

Welcome to Mary's Garden. Today we have two guests who will give us some unique tips on ideas. 

But first... yup you have it. Here is a gardening tip for a beginning from an gardening article in Readers Digest. 

You have problems—mind-bending, frustrating, annoying problems. You need solutions. You need good ideas, and you need to know how to get them. Where do you start in the search for ideas? And not just good ideas, but profound, focused, life-changing ideas?

And now welcome Jennifer Beckstrand and Craig Case. 

Big ideas.

Is it possible to boost your creativity? To discover far-reaching solutions to difficult problems? To develop innovative ideas that not only improve your life but catapult it in a better direction? Yes, it is.

Every great discovery, creation, or invention has its genesis in a problem. The search for solutions is how big ideas come about. And big ideas can change the world.

In our new book, Big Ideas: How to Unleash Your Creative Self and Have More Aha! Moments, we tell you how to train your brain to get more inspiration, generate better ideas, and unleash your creativity. The book is full of practical ideas that you can apply today to help you be a better thinker.
Writing is just one of those practical ideas. Many of history’s greatest thinkers like Julian of Norwich, Galileo, Hypatia, Aristotle, Plato, Teresa of Avila, Shakespeare, and Kepler were dedicated writers. They are remembered in part, because they wrote down their ideas. Over 30,000 pages of Da Vinci’s personal notes were found in his home after his death. Thomas Edison filled 3,000 notebooks of 280 pages each documenting his experiments and ideas.
Jennifer Beckstrand
The Lost Art of Writing
In a recent workshop, we discussed the idea of writing as a method for developing insights and getting more Aha! Moments. A twenty-two-year-old in the class rejected the idea of carrying a journal wherever he went. He said the idea simply wouldn’t work for most people his age. Holding up his phone, he said he could text anything more quickly than writing it out. We agreed with him regarding speed. Watching how quickly and effortlessly most people navigate their phones, we know his observation is accurate.
But speed is not the goal when trying to capture and develop complex thoughts and ideas. Writing about an idea, pen to paper, actually creates neural connections that lead to big ideas. The creative part of the brain does its best work when it slows down, which is one of the reasons handwriting is vital to creativity and innovation.
Advancements in technology tie us closer together than ever before, revolutionizing what it means to communicate. We call our loved ones from thousands of miles away. We use FaceTime and Skype. We text and email each other at the push of a button. While these advancements have undoubtedly improved our lives, they also greatly inhibit our ability to think and create.
We need to think on a deeper level than in a text laced with emojis, acronyms, and abbreviations. As handy as it is, the smart phone has its limits as a tool for elevated thinking.
Handwriting vs. Typing
Research indicates that handwriting is vastly more beneficial to learning and innovative thinking than
Craig Case
typing or keyboarding. Handwriting slows down the brain, and when you’re in alpha mode, you accelerate cerebral connections and increase the likelihood of inspired ideas.
Research by Virginia Berninger, a professor at the University of Washington, shows that writing in cursive activates massive regions in the brain involved in thinking, language, and working memory, the systems for temporarily storing and managing information. Keyboarding only activates a single region of the brain.
Recent research on college courses shows that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on a laptop, particularly for capturing and remembering conceptual information. The very act of using a pen or pencil helps you better retain information. People capture and recall up to 30 percent more information when they’ve taken handwritten notes rather than typed ones.
Handwriting requires more effort than keyboarding, and the mental effort helps the brain make critical connections. The more effort you put into understanding something, the stronger signal you're giving your brain of its importance, which enhances the inspiration process.
"When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated," says psychologist Daniel M. Oppenheimer. "There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain, it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn't realize.” The result? Learning is easier, connections occur, and inspired ideas flow.

Big Ideas is now available on Kindle and will be released in book form on December 7. For more ideas on how to maximize your brain’s creative power, go to and join our Facebook group at Big Ideas: Unleash Your Creative Self.
Thank you, Jennifer, for visiting.


stanalei said…
Wishing you the best luck on your book, Jennifer and Craig. What a great topic for those of us looking to expand our creativity.

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