September 1, 2010

Discovering the Wild Card

Posted in Improvisation tagged at 9:45 am by Rebecca Hein

The Wild Card is that mysterious force in writing that upsets all your efforts just when you think you know what to do. There’s no fighting this invisible opponent; instead you have to join with it. Only then can you expect it to work in your favor.

The fictional character that takes over your story; the unexpected new structure for your essay; the struggle to flesh out an idea that begins clearly yet refuses to travel from thought to print; these are a few of the Wild Card’s many faces.



  1. These wild cards often prove to be the making of the story or article. I’ve found that leaving a story alone for a few days or weeks tends to expose its weaknesses or proposes a new direction. I’ve had that happen with blog posts and electronic music compositions too.


    • Rebecca Hein said,

      Bruce, Yes, any sort of break from our direct creative efforts will usually produce new insights. What you’ve described is Incubation; one of the four phases of the creative process discussed in Thomas Blakeslee’s book, The Right Brain: A New Understanding of the Unconscious Mind and its Creative Powers.


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