How to Tap Subconscious Creativity
Our work (and our lives) would be pretty useless without the logical sides of our brains. Our writing would be a frenetic wash of color and emotion, indistinguishable to anyone else. We need that logical side of our brains to help us organize our thoughts into coherency. But the power of art is almost always the result of the creative side of our brains – the subconscious side. So how do we keep our conscious brain out of the way long enough to tap into our subconscious creativity?
- Don’t Censure Yourself: Creativity is a delicate and temperamental creature, and it often wilts away under the weight of “the rules” or the carping of our infernal internal editors. Not everything that bubbles up from the depths of your subconscious creativity will have worth, but give yourself time to get it on paper and let it rest for a while before judging it.
- Tell Your Logical Brain to Zip It: Your logical brain can be a pushy character. When he’s telling you he thinks he knows best how to write this story, tell him to stow it for a bit, so his chatter doesn’t distract you from the offerings of your creative brain. Your logical brain will get a chance later.
- Focus on the Senses. Our subconscious works on a level deeper than words. It feeds our brains with images, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings, which our conscious brains then translate into words. Nothing wrong with words (they’re the tools of our trade, after all!), but give a try to focusing on the raw sensations. Close your eyes and visualize your scene. What colors stand out? What can you smell? What does your body feel like? This is the single best way to find those all-important “telling” details that bring a scene to life.
- Listen to Your Gut Instinct. Ever get an itchy feeling something is wrong with a story? You’re zipping right along, having a good ol’ time with your characters… but something just doesn’t feel right. I’ve learned to trust my gut instinct. I can’t think of a single instance it has failed me. The trick is learning to interpret what it’s saying. Most authors would be the first to admit their best writing is beyond even them. It comes from someplace outside the conscious realm. Once we recognize and accept that fact, we are then able to take advantage of harnessing our subconscious minds. The two sides of our creativity – the conscious and the subconscious – working in harmony, the one pulsing and pounding ahead, the other slowing and refining, are capable of producing some pretty fantastic things.