Improv, The Unexpected Transdisciplinary Skill

A few years ago, there was an improv flurry through freelance writers and writing coaches. Nearly every single one of them that I read or talked to said improvisation was the key to their continuous output and helped them fight back against writer’s block. While I have seen and enjoyed improv shows, I’d never done it myself, so I just nodded and went on my way.

A couple of years ago, I was in a voiceover workshop and the instructor told us all to go take an improv class. I wrote it down in my notes, and closed the book. I did the same thing a month later when the same woman went on the same rant. (Seriously, she was quite enthusiastic about this.)

Last summer, right as one of the local community college’s catalog hit our mailbox, nearly every copywriter and published writer whose blog I was reading posted about how improv was helping them improve their writing skills. It was freaky, but I noted that the community college offered an improv class (that conflicted with my work schedule and stated that the beginning acting class as a prerequisite).

It’s kind of like one of those cosmic signs…that’s completely wrong for a strong introvert like me. Because it hasn’t fit my schedule yet, I really haven’t worried much about it. But last week I was reading the current issue of Interactions Magazine, because I’m trying to learn about interaction design, and guess what showed up? I don’t know how I’m supposed to do this, but apparently I really have to at least look into it.

The lesson here, I think, is that regardless of the creative field you’re in, there’s a lot you can learn from improv that will help you be better at your field.


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