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


By  Deanna Mascle                                                                               Previous Page

Then forget about it! That's right. Move on with your life and consciously think about something else. Revise another project. Read something for education or pleasure.

The incubation time varies according to your creative personality and of course the size of the project at hand. I've found a few days usually works best although even giving myself a few hours can be beneficial. Doing something physical is often helpful during the incubation period and sometimes this is the only time I really get my gardening or housework accomplished!

When I am working on a novel I allow my subconscious to work scene by scene through the book and often when I sit down at the computer I find the words just flow throw me as the scene plays itself in my head almost like a movie. I have heard of several authors who are able to program their dreams so they are literally writing in their sleep. Dreams can be as vivid as a painting, as resonant as music, and as symbolic as poetry. Using this method I can often write a scene a day (sometimes in less than an hour) which is fairly decent progress while simultaneously working full-time and maintaining a life.

While it is often frightening to think about trusting something as important as the writing project of your heart to your subconscious, it might help to remember that your brain is a muscle of sorts. Your unconscious mind controls many muscle functions for you all the time (try thinking about the way that you walk while you actually walk. I always trip when I think too much about the action of walking and yet I don't trip when I'm not thinking about it.)

The same is true for great athletes. They talk about being in the zone. The zone is simply the place where they can act and react without consciously thinking about what needs to be done. The body and unconscious mind handle all the details. Thinking too hard can actually interfere with the zone and this is true of writing as well. Interestingly, a recent study of professional and amateur golfers showed that the amateur golfers had significantly more conscious activity when playing a shot than did the professionals. I would bet something similar would result if experienced and novice writers were studied.

So give unconscious creativity a try and see how far it takes you. Simply program your subconscious and then leave it alone to incubate for a while. It may take some time to find the method of tapping into your subconscious after your incubation period. For some freewriting or journaling serve to unlock the fruits of your unconscious labor. Usually, I sit myself down and begin the task at hand. It is often slow-going at first but I force myself forward and at some point my subconscious kicks in and the words start flowing and the keyboard starts clicking away.

Best of luck with your writing!

Deanna Mascle is the publisher of the writing newsletter Word Craft Online and the writing resource Answers About Writing. She has published three novels; written and edited numerous newspapers, magazines, books, and online publications; and teaches writing at Morehead State University.