Creativity always seems like such an elusive concept to me. What force inside humans compels us to sing, dance, sculpt, and write? I liken my own creativity to one of those little Keebler elves—one who sometimes is busy creating perfectly round chocolate chip cookies, other times has decided to laze in the hammock swinging from that unnaturally green little tree, and other times yet has imbibed a tad too many tiny martinis and is sleeping it off in the grass.
“Women’s intuition” can be a useful tool for aspiring women writers, and men too, because it’s a link to your inner resources of creativity and wisdom. Intuition is your subconscious mind attempting to communicate with you and get creative material or guidance into your conscious mind. You might experience hunches, flashes of insight, or feel you should take some action. Your dreams may give you characters, plot ideas, or entire stories. Some people get a “gut” feeling. You may be guided to do something unusual. The late photographer Dorothea Lange got a gut feeling that she should turn down a deserted road in California while driving home from work one day. Even though she was exhausted, Lange yielded to her intuition and discovered a starving woman and children whose haunting photo became the face of the Great Depression.
Intuition springs from your subconscious mind, and there are several ways to connect to this part of yourself that often goes unheeded and unexplored. You can direct your subconscious mind to give you a dream solution when you find yourself in a spell of writer’s block. Keep a notebook by your bed and tell your subconscious mind before you fall asleep to allow you to dream about the next section of your story. Don’t be surprised if you wake up in the middle of the night with a sudden burst of inspiration. That’s what the notebook is for.
You can also induce the hypnagogic state to get in touch with your subconscious resources. The hypnagogic state is a naturally occurring phase of sleep that is characterized by altered consciousness; some people hear their name being called, others see flashes of light. What’s important for writers is that ideas that are not normally connected are seen as associated in this state. It’s a time fertile with creativity. To access it, lie down and hold one arm straight up while you attempt to doze. The tension in your arm required to hold it up will keep you on the verge of wakefulness even as your mind slips into an alpha state, which is conducive to creativity. Again, write down in your notebook any ideas or insights that come to you.
Stream of consciousness writing is a good way to access your subconscious mind. I used it while writing my novel, Grave Secret (Mundania Press, Sept 2007). One day, after a period of several difficult writing days, the character of Billy Powers simply walked on to the page. This character was not known to my conscious mind; he sprang from my subconscious. As it turned out, he was so integral to the plot that his appearance saved the story.
Heed your intuition because it is the golden key that opens the gate to your vast subconscious mind. Your writing will thank you for it.
RU crew, has your subconscious ever helped you solve a story problem? Do you dream about your characters? And what questions do you have for Kelly about how to ramp up your creativity? Don’t forget, Kelly will give away a copy of THINKING WRITE for one person who leaves a comment.
Kelly L Stone (www.KellyLStone.com) is a licensed mental health counselor who started a successful writing career while working a full-time job. She is the author of three books: a women’s literary novel, GRAVE SECRET (Mundania Press, Sept 2007), which was called “powerful” and “well-written” by RT Book Reviews; TIME TO WRITE: More Than 100 Professional Writers Reveal How To Fit Writing Into Your Busy Life (Adams Media, Jan 2008), and THINKING WRITE: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind (Adams Media, Oct 2009) which demonstrates how to use the power of your subconscious for writing and creativity purposes. Her third book for writers, LIVING WRITE: Creative Strategies for Maintaining Your Enthusiasm, Motivation, and Dedication to Your Long Term Writing Goals, will be released by Adams Media in fall 2010.
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