Monday, September 14, 2009

Guest - Kelly L. Stone

Good morning, everyone! Today's guest is Kelly L. Stone, who is a fellow author from Mundania Press. She's offering us a fascinating writing tool and, to one lucky person, a free copy of her book, Thinking Write. Read all the way to the Lynda Again section to see how you can enter the drawing. Don't wait, this drawing will end on Friday.

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Your Most Powerful Writing Tool

You have in your possession a writing tool that is more beneficial to you than all other tools combined, and it’s likely your most underutilized—your subconscious mind. Learning to use your subconscious mind will open up avenues of creative inspiration that can benefit your writing in ways you may have never thought possible.

There are three components to your mind, as studied and analyzed by Sigmund Freud, the father of modern day psychology. First is the conscious mind, the day to day thinking portion of mind. The conscious mind can only attend to one thought at a time, so you are limited in how much information is available to you using your conscious mind.

The preconscious mind is a layer between the conscious and the subconscious. It’s a very concrete, “all or nothing” portion of mind that often causes conflict and attempts to interfere with the goals of the conscious mind. I call this interference the “anti-writer.” I will give you a technique for dealing with your anti-writer later in this article.

The subconscious mind operates independently from your conscious and preconscious. It is like a giant computer system with multiple input sources, constantly recording all of the details of your life. The subconscious has some very unique characteristics. For instance, it is always alert; it functions even during periods when the conscious mind is asleep or altered in some way, such as surgery. It stores material indefinitely. All of the information that you are exposed to on a day to day basis is stored in the subconscious. Think about how gaining access to this treasure trove of material can impact your ability to write scenes and create characters. Last, the subconscious creates your reality. Many people have spoken about this truth before, such as Napoleon Hill, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Zig Ziglar, and others—basically, what you think about all the time programs your subconscious mind to bring into reality. Learning to direct this power can help you achieve your writing goals.

Easy Ways to Work With Your Subconscious

Here are some easy ways to tap into the power of your subconscious mind.

Ask for a Dream Solution

Dreams are a spontaneous way that the subconscious gets information to the conscious mind. Robert Louis Stevenson is one famous writer known for using his dreams almost exclusively for material. He called his dreams “the stage” of his mind. He would go to sleep at night anticipating receiving the next chapter for his work in progress. He even credited his famous story Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde to a dream.

You can use your dreams in the same way by asking for what I call a dream solution. You do this by asking your subconscious mind a question before you go to sleep, such as, “Subconscious, what is the next scene in my novel?” or “Subconscious, would Agent X be a good match for me?" or “Subconscious, give me an idea for a new book.”

Some people write the question on an index card and put it under their pillow. The gesture is symbolic, but writing down the instruction seems to increase the chances of a dream solution.

Sometimes the answer may come to you first thing in the morning, other times it comes at an unexpected moment days or even weeks later. It takes time to learn how your subconscious mind provides you with the answer; some people experience hunches, others get flashes of insight, others get “feelings” that they should take some action. The more you practice with dream solutions the more attuned you will become to the unique way your subconscious communicates with you.

I have used dream solution work with my own writing. The night before I handed in the manuscript for Time to Write, I asked my subconscious mind to alert me to any errors in the copy. When I woke up, I got a mental picture of three misspelled words and found the errors in the exact sections that my subconscious had indicated they would be in.

The Hypnagogic State

The Hypnagogic state is a phase of sleep that occurs naturally before falling asleep and before fully waking up. It’s characterized by altered consciousness; some people see flashes of light, others hear their name being called, and ideas that under ordinary conditions have no association are perceived as being connected. It’s a period ripe with creativity. Mary Shelley got the idea for the classic novel Frankenstein while in this drowsy state.

One way to practice with the hypnagogic state without drifting into full sleep is to lay down and hold one arm straight up. You can learn to stay in the zone between sleeping and wakefulness just by balancing your arm up. When you feel yourself getting too sleepy, write down whatever was going through your mind at the time.

Beware Your Anti-Writer!

Everything that passes from your subconscious into your conscious mind must pass through the preconscious, which is where the anti-writer resides. If this anti-writer portion is not controlled, it can interfere with your ability to use your subconscious mind for maximum creative gain and thwart your writing goals. The anti-writer usually manifests in the form of negative comments you say or think about your abilities as a writer.

To combat your anti-writer, record all negative statements you say or think about your writing abilities in a notebook. At the end of two weeks, note themes or statements that are repeated more than three times. Next, write countering statements on index cards and say these out loud daily, especially when you have a negative thought. For instance, if your anti-writer statement is, "I just don't have the time to write with my busy schedule," counter with, "I know there is time in my day to write and I will find it." Immediately countering the statement will set up a habit of neutralizing these negative thoughts.

Your subconscious mind is your most powerful writing ally. Learning to tap into this vast creative resource will aid both your creativity and your writing career efforts. There are many more exercises in my book, THINKING WRITE, The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind, just released by Adams Media.



References:
Moody, Dr. Raymond: www.lifeafterlife.com
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, third edition. Henry Colburn and
Richard Bentley, London, 1831.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Across the Plains. Chattus & Windus, London, 1892
Stone, R. Michael, Counseling & Consultation Services:
www.unlearnsmoking.com



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kelly L Stone is the author of Grave Secret (Mundania Press, Sept
2007), a women’s literary novel which was called “powerful” and
“well-written” by RT Book Reviews, and two books for writers: Time to Write:
More than 100 Professional Writers Reveal How to Fit Writing Into Your Busy
Life (Adams Media, January 2008), which was nominated for The American
Society of Journalists and Authors Outstanding Book of 2008 Award, and the
just released Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind
(Adams Media). Kelly is a licensed mental health counselor with a master’s
degree in counseling from Florida State University. Visit her at
www.KellyLStone.com, www.ThinkingWriteBook.com, and
www.FreeYourCreativeMind.blogspot.com

- Lynda Again

Kelly is giving away one copy of her book Thinking
Write
. To enter the drawing for the book, please leave a comment AND email Kelly at kellystone @ kellylstone.com (no spaces)

Enjoy and good luck!

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36 comments:

Julie Robinson said...

Kelly,
I love this title. I have been reading books on writing lately to try to help myself get past this mental block I have. Apparently, my preconscious mind is very strong! I shall start an 'anti-writer' journal and hope to try more exercises from your book.

Congratulations on its release!
Julie

Julie Robinson said...

I'll be emailing you in a sec, but wanted to say that Hynagogic exercise is something I've never heard of before and will try. It's true, I do see bright lights when I lay down, and have often opened my eyes to make sure the light isn't on. Guess it's been on 'inside' and I didn't realize it!
Julie

Chicks of Characterization said...

Wow,what food for thought! I always have a very strong 'intuition' and I never EVER thought of asking for a dream solution! I'm definitely going to give that a try! Thanks so much for a very interesting and informative posts!

Andrea

Gwynlyn MacKenzie said...

Excellent info. I've always trusted my subconscious for solutions, but they came when they would about what they would. Having some way to channel them to the need is great. Thanks.

Carol Burge said...

Wow, how interesting! The book sounds awesome, too. Thanks for sharing!

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

Thank you everyone! I am so glad you found the article useful. There are lots more unique ideas in the book. I look forward to seeing who wins the free copy! :)

I hope everyone will sign up for my newsletter, and also follow my blog at www.freeyourcreativemind.blogspot.com

Best,
Kelly

Lisa M. Russell said...

I love the stuff about dreams and first thing in the morning. Kelly we are looking forward to your working on Nov7 at KSU for GWA! You are great.
Lisa

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Kelly, your presentation at the GCC meeting this weekend was wonderfully informative. I can't wait to try the dream solution (and the mirror!). I don't care if my DH thinks I'm crazy for it :)

Amber

DianaD said...

This is one of the writing books that I really want to have as part of my library.

Diana

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

Thank you Diana, Amber, and Lisa for your kind comments! Amber, I'm glad you'll give the mirror gazing a try-- let me know how it works for you. Who knows, you may just have a "knack" for it! Seriously, that is an ancient divination practice that has been around for hundreds of thousands of years.

Lisa, I also am looking forward to the Nov 7th workshop!

Best wishes,
Kelly

Colleen MacLeod said...

Great post, Kelly. I struggle a lot with the anti-writer. I'm signed up for your online class in November already and I'm really looking forward to your book.

Colleen

donna said...

I heard Kelly this weekend at the Gulf Coast RWA chapter, and she is fabulous! I am going to try the dream solution and the mirror technique. I think my zoning out in a hot bath with a glass of wine before I write is kind of getting to the same point. I have to get really relaxed and then if I'm lucky the muse tiptoes in.

quite frankly said...

What a great title. I'm often the victim of my own overactive imagination (sometimes to disastrous results), so to be able to utilize my mind in a more productive and effective manner has me greatly interested. (And sorry I missed what I hear wss a great program on Sat.) --Mimi

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

Thanks Ladies!!

Colleen, I am soooo glad you will be in the November class!

Donna, you're right, relaxation is the key to getting the brain into an alpha state. If a hot bath and wine do it for you, then go for it! :)

Mimi, missed you Saturday!!

Kelly

AnnaM. said...

Wonderful post! My anti-writer must be really powerful right now.

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

Hi Anna,

Happens to everyone! The trick is to catch it and counter it!

Thanks for posting.
Kelly

Susan Johnston said...

I've sometimes used the "dream solution" without knowing it, but I didn't realize that Robert Louis Stephenson used it, too. Very interesting!

Susan

Walt M said...

Kelly,

Can't wait for your next book. Created my writing schedule after your first book and found time in my day to write.

Julie Robinson said...

Kelly,

Your website is fantastic! You have such a wealth of information in your articles. I see also that you will be teaching a class in November on Thinking Write.

I joined your newsletter.
Julie

Michelle said...

Interesting post. I look forward to learning more and trying the techniques. Congrats on your new book.

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

Thanks everyone!

Susan, RLS was an interesting person in that he got almost all his writing material from his dreams!

Glad TIME TO WRITE helped you find a writing schedule that works for you Walt!

Julie, thanks for joining my newsletter list. I got your sign up request and will add you.

Michelle, good to see you here! Thanks for posting.

All best,
Kelly

K.L.J. said...

Kelly,
Great post. I love Time to Write and can't wait to read Thinking Write. I have struggled to become more creative and your book sounds like a genuine help.

Allison Knight said...

Kelly,

This sounds fascinating. Your Time To Write has helped me tremendously. Thinking Write looks
like another winner.

And anyone, if you get a chance to hear Kelly in person, don't miss it. She has hints and helps no writer should miss.

Allison

Peg said...

Can't wait for your book, Kelly. I have no trouble coming up with story ideas, but I need to learn to take my creativity to the next level to surprise the reader...and myself!

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

Thank you KLJ, Allison, and Peg! It is wonderful to know that TIME TO WRITE has helped you! I hope that THINKING WRITE will be equally useful to your writing aspirations! It was fun to write. I enjoyed learning about all the unique ways we have of tapping into our subconscious creativity.

Best,
Kelly

Penny Rader said...

I need this book! Especially the anti-writer part.

Louise said...

Great post! I believe the subconscious has a lot to answer for!! A few weeks ago I decided to give up writing altogether - I was rubbish, couldn't think of a plot and had severe writer's block. Within an hour of giving up and watching tv wallpaper I had a plot, characters and great action rolling through my head like a movie! I think just the relaxation of my mind and 'taking off the pressure' made it happen. Can't wait to read the book Kelly!

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

Hi Penny and Louise,

Thanks for posting. The anti-writer portion of the mind is something all writers have to stay on top of. And yes, Louise, relaxation is a big key to accessing the subconscious. You might try using some Baroque music as well, or anything that is 60 beats per minute. That is documented to get the brain into alpha wave state, which is associated with creativity.

Best, Kelly

BECKY said...

Hi Kelly! You are such an inspiration! I need to read your suggestions every single day...maybe twice a day!
Thanks so much!

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

Thanks Becky! I appreciate your kind words. Thanks for following my blog.

Best, Kelly

litehaustender said...

I find your post very interesting and certainly believe the suggested ways of tapping into the power of the subconscious is effective if given a try. The method of dealing with the anti-writer can be applied to other negative impulses and I will recommend the method for the use of my daughter who is studying in college.

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

Thank you litehaustender!! The method for dealing with the anti-writer works for anti-anything. It's a technique that was created by R. Michael Stone, Counseling and Consultation Services, at www.unlearnsmoking.com

Free Your Creative Mind! said...

The Winner of the Free Copy of THINKING WRITE is Diana D!! Congrats Diana! Please email me your mailing address: Kelly@KellyLStone.com

Thanks to everyone who posted and entered the contest!

Best wishes,
Kelly

Julie Robinson said...

Congrats Diane!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Sorry everyone for not getting here sooner but it seems my main computer ended up with a virus that I've been battling for the past several days. And I've just borrowed my daughter's laptop before I ended up with withdrawal symptoms, lol.

Kelly, thanks so much for being with us this week and congrats Diane for winning the free copy of Kelly's book THINKING WRITE. Hope you all have a great weekend!

karim said...

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Thanks,
Karim - Positive thinking