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 The Secret to Writing Faster and with More Focus -- Writing in Your Sleep!


By  Deanna Mascle                                                                                     Next Page

One of the most powerful tools in my creative arsenal is what I call unconscious creativity.

No, I do not ask someone to brain me with a hammer and I don't even need to be actually unconscious. This is when I simply allow my unconscious to do all the heavy lifting for me creatively. It is the use of this method that has allowed me to write quickly when working as a newspaper reporter and to generate several books while also working a demanding full-time job and going to school.

This method falls back on the age-old advice to "sleep on a problem". Have you ever been worried about a decision or struggled to remember something important before bedtime only to wake up the next morning with the answer sharp and clear in your mind as if it was a gift from the gods? It is a gift of sort, but no outside agency delivered it to you. The answer was supplied to you by your greatest creative ally-your subconscious.

Unconscious creativity uses the power of the unconscious mind. The simplest technique is incubation, where after thinking about the challenge consciously for some time, it is put to one side and left for a while. Often a solution will pop into your mind unbidden, as your mind continues to work on the problem below your level of awareness.

The human brain is a beautiful, highly-functional instrument and yet we utilize so little of its power. Our unconscious does amazing things for us. It helps with our daily coordination needed for useful tasks such as walking, eating, breathing, driving. It stores memories for us, it keeps a check on those things that are truly important to us (our values), it reminds us what we believe. Most of the time it does these things (and a myriad more) without us even having to consciously think about it - that's why it's called the unconscious, by the way!

However, it does something even more wonderful: it is able to sift and sort vast quantities of data (things we have seen, heard, said, felt, smelt, tasted) and recognize patterns and generate ways of responding. It sometimes does this in wonderfully creative ways. We often overlook the potential of our unconscious mind and instead let it worry about such trivia as our dental hygienist's name and whether or not we remembered to buy peanut butter. However, it doesn't have to be that way. Using the unconscious as a creative tool is very simple.

Spend some time consciously thinking about your writing task or challenge. What are the parameters of the project? What are the special requirements? What ideas do you have already? What specific questions do you need to work on further? Sometimes even spending some time jotting down the ideas you have is a good idea. Don't work on shaping or organizing them. Just record them on paper or computer file. You may not even need them later, but the process of recording them can be a helpful way to prepare your subconscious for its task.

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