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Write your book while dreaming

Woman Sleeping in clouds

As a young girl, I was a big daydreamer. While my teachers tried to fill my blank mind with science or math or proper grammar, my head was crowded with imaginary friends, chestnut horses, and rainbow unicorns. Make-believe scenes reeled through my mind on a daily basis.

In forty-some years, not much has changed.

Now, however, I use my dreaming mind as a tool to find story ideas, develop character and plot, or find the perfect word for a poem.

In Robert Olen Butler’s “From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction,” he writes, “Art does not come from the mind. Art comes from the place where you dream. Art comes from your unconscious, it comes from the white-hot center of you.”

When I’m actively working on a project and feel as if my awake or conscious mind is getting in the way, I have a bedtime routine I follow to help me find answers or get back in the flow of my story.

First, before bed, I do something to become as relaxed as possible—a hot shower, a jaccuzi, a glass of Sleepy-Time tea, or maybe some melatonin to help me go deeper in my sleep.

Then I read whatever I’m currently working on before turning out the light. I might read through a scene or a poem. Or, I might write down a question in my bedside journal. I’ll close my eyes and hold the question or project in my mind for a few moments as I say, “Let me see. Let me see. Let me see.” I consider this a little prayer or request to my subconscious mind to get to work.

Ninety percent of the time, I wake up with an answer or inspiration that gets me back on track.

Exercise: Try the above with your current writing project. Let me know what happens!

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  1. How to write in your sleep | onewildword

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