The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘dreams

In my recent newsletter, I wrote about how fun it has been to break some WRITING RULES during the month of November. You might want to consider breaking some writing rules, too.

I’ve been taking inspiration from Durham author and podcaster Mur Lafftery. She is creator of the delightful podcast called I Should Be Writing.

Like many folks, I am working on a NaNoWriMo project and juggling other writing projects, work and life. Also, like many folks, I recognize that we’re moving into a time of the year where it can be harder to get creative work done due to holiday travel, holiday plans, increased expectations about spending time with family and/or friends, etc.

I won NaNoWriMo in 2014, but I used an outline and prepared for months. This year, I don’t have an outline, so I’m “pantsing it” and to boot my NaNoWriMo project is an urban fantasy novel co-written with my sister. Complicated!

Mur typically does a special NaNoWriMo series on her podcast. This year, she’s been posting daily using the metaphor of The Purge (which was a series of horror movies). The NaNoWriMo Purge suspends and breaks “all writing laws/rules” in service of getting more writing done.

These movies look scary!

Hearing her encouragement on breaking writing rules has been a lot of FUN and given me PERMISSION to try new things. A writing rules purge every once and awhile is probably good for us. It builds a sense of excitement and rebelliousness when we come to the page.

So, here are some writing rules to consider breaking—just for the month of November, because well, you know how this month goes. You might be doing NaNoWriMo and trying to get more words written or you just might want to get writing again. Anyway, without a bit of fortitude it’s cold turkey sandwiches, sticky leftover cranberry sauce, the last slice of pumpkin pie, a retail headache and a lot of regret by November 30th.

Writing Rules to Break in November according to Mur (with my interpretation)

Write every day. Nope! Now usually this is a good rule to have because it helps with our consistency. Well, as Mur notes, a major American holiday intervenes in the midst of November which usually includes lots of cooking, eating and retail adventures. You can break this law! Instead think about what writing might realistically fit in your schedule. Plan to be interrupted. Find time to steal. Maybe you will write in the car (assuming you aren’t driving) on the way to Thanksgiving dinner. If you are used to doing a specific word count, consider what it would take to write just a little bit more when you can—so plan to make your word count up over six days, knowing that you will probably not be able to write during the holiday weekend.

Don’t write dream sequences. Nope! Many writers are absolutely terrified of putting a dream sequence into a novel. OK, sometimes they are overused, but that’s not always the case. A dream sequence can be just what you need to get your writing juices flowing—it can always be cut later. Put on your Freudian or Jungian hat and write a dream sequence. Use it to foreshadow an event, get into your characters’ subconscious, and show us their desires or their fears.

Don’t head-hop. Nope! So the rule goes don’t go head-hopping between characters in the same scene. You can confuse the reader and it is not as common in literature as it once was. Though as Mur points out Agatha Christy did this within in a scene and even within a paragraph! So, head-hop all you want. Tell us what Janelle thinks about Damon and then tell us what Damon thinks about her. Tell us what the server in the restaurant that is watching them thinks. Give us all the points of view possible in the very same scene!

-Don’t start a scene with dialogue. Nope! This is one of my additions. Common writing wisdom frowns on starting with dialogue as it disorients the reader. Readers need context. I think it depends on what the characters are saying. Read the fantastic mystery writer Walter Mosely, and you’ll find that he often starts his scenes off with dialogue and trust me, you are immediately hooked. I would have never finished my first NaNoWriMo if I stuck to this rule. Starting with dialogue can be a way to get the reader quickly involved into the emotion of the scene.

Can you think of more writing rules that you’d like to break? I bet you can.

You can listen for free to the first of Mur’s NaNoWriMo Purge series here. The rest of her series is available through her Patreon page. Patreon is a platform that lets you directly support artists and creators.

Break some rules, people! It’s really fun. We will return to our writing law-abiding selves after November. Promise.

I’ve heard from many folk that you really enjoyed my last post on prompts for Winter Solstice. I thought I’d share another source of inspiration to support the creative journey this winter.

I have included is a link to ‘Wake Up Your Magic’ coach Susan Guild’s ‘Tele-Share’ where she invited myself and writer Wendy Fedan to talk about how to deepen and grow one’s creativity practice. We called it a Creativity Bash! We recorded this episode a few winters ago and covered the following topics:

-Discover how to take your creativity to the next level

-Learn your creative cycles

-Understand what “following the energy” means to take action on your creative projects i.e., following “the Divine breadcrumbs”

-Uncover your mood blockers

-Pay attention to your body’s physical and reactions to pain and strain

-Live following the nudges to your creative dreams

This call was fun and magical.  Enjoy!

 

What would it feel like to live your writing dreams in 2017? If you were experiencing your definition of success as a writer, how would you stand? How would you walk? How would you sit at your desk? What would you say to yourself? What would you say to others?

I know that you want that experience for yourself. As writers, we all do.

Now that the holidays are winding down, isn’t it time for you to start mapping out a plan that gets you closer to your definition of writing success?

This year, because of my connection to my Writing Self, I have experienced more joy in writing and more success than ever before.

What I learned this year is that when we are deeply connected to our Writing Self, we can live our highest vision as a writer. And, we can rock it! I’ve been doing a daily affirmation practice for the past 355+ days and it has changed my life.

I am hosting the Affirm the Writer in You: 5 Ways to Connect to Your Writing Self for 2017 webinar and I’m inviting you. It’s on Dec 29, 8pm EST.

It’s free and I’ll share a process to connect to your Writing Self and set yourself up for success in 2017. During the webinar you’ll find out:

  • How to deepen a connection with your Writing Self
    ·How to supercharge your productivity and sustain your momentum
    ·How to get unstuck and approach the page with more ease
    ·How to deal with challenges of time, energy, self-worth

Go here to save your seat for this live training! I’ll be offering some special bonuses to those on the call.

Get the support and tools you need to take your writing life to the next level!

Hi there!

I’m sending a special invitation to readers of my blog. I want to empower you to take action on your writing dreams in 2017.

During the year, I’ve heard from many of you about the challenges of maintaining a writing life.

How has your writing life been this year?

Are you feeling disconnected from your Writing Self? That’s the part of us that creates the magic, believes in us and gives us courage to face the page.

Do you walk around frustrated knowing you have writing gifts to share but don’t know how to begin or keep going?

What I learned this year is that when we are deeply connected to our Writing Self, we can live our highest vision as a writer. And, we can rock it! I’ve been doing a daily affirmation practice for the past 355+ days and it has changed my life in.  My writing productivity has exploded and my inner critics have disappeared.

I am hosting the Affirm the Writer in You: 5 Ways to Connect to Your Writing Self for 2017 webinar and I’m inviting you.

It’s free and I’ll share a process to connect to your Writing Self and set yourself up for success in 2017. During the webinar you’ll find out:

·How to deepen a connection with your Writing Self
·How to supercharge your productivity and sustain your momentum
·How to get unstuck and approach the page with more ease
·How to deal with challenges of time, energy, self-worth

Go here to save your seat for this live training! I’ll be offering some special bonuses to those on the call.

Get the support and tools you need to take your writing life to the next level!

 

Affirmations-366Days#317: My inner creative self always champions my dreams and gives me clues about how to realize them.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#153: Dreams inspire new creative pathways. I open myself to dream wisdom. I keep a dream journal.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#100: I always reach for bigger and more daring writing dreams.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#92: Becoming the writer of my dreams is realized a little each day I sit down to write.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#29: I allow myself to entertain big writing dreams.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

For many years I kept a dream journal and consistently recorded my dreams. I did this mostly for personal interest, but also to build a creative repository. My diligence, over the years, in keeping up a dream journal has waned. My dreams are only sporadically recorded and rarely do I mine them for creative ideas. Even rarer still is the occasion that I use a specific image from a dream in a story.

Two years ago, however, I had a dream that was pretty disturbing. I was in a forest and in it stood a gigantic meat grinder. And, all sorts of fantastical characters were being thrown in. Many Disney characters. I don’t know who or what was operating it. Think body parts everywhere. Gruesome, I know. I woke up and immediately recorded this dream in my journal. For the past two years, I could not get this image out of my head. Why and how did my psyche throw together meat grinding and Disney?

There is a wonderful book by Naomi Epel called Writers Dreaming that features prominent writers discussing the intersections between their dream life and their creative life. Steven King, in his interview, likens most dreams to a kind of “mental or spiritual flatulence”, a pressure relieving mechanism that helps process the mundane aspects of life. But, he also likens some dreams to big underwater fish that we rarely see:

 

fish

“…if you go down real deep, you see all these bright fluorescent, weird, strange things with membranous umbrellas and weird skirts that flare out from their bodies. Those are the creatures that we don’t see very often because they explode if we bring them up too close to the surface. They are to surface fish what dreams are to our surface thoughts. Deep fish are like dreams of surface fish. They change shape, they change form. There are dreams and there are deep dreams.”

King also notes only a few instances where he was able to use a dream image unaltered in a story. My ‘meat grinder dream’ didn’t leave me alone. I wanted to find a way to write about it.

I’m happy to say with a little trial and error, I did find a way. The poem and flash fiction pieces that I wrote were like nothing else I had ever written before. It’s dark and creepy. Every time I wrote a draft, I felt like I was walking back into the eerie nature of the dream. My flash fiction/prose poem piece ‘Grinding Disney #2’ was just announced as placing in the 2014 Science Fiction Poetry Association Contest under the ‘Long form’. I bet you didn’t know there was an association devoted to studying and promoting science fiction poetry. Neither did I until recently and I love what they do. They are interested in “poetry with some element of speculation—usually science fiction, fantasy, or horror, though some include surrealism, some straight science.” It was founded by one of my favorite writers, Suzette Haden Elgin. SFPA “holds an annual open contest, and yearly awards for speculative poetry: the Rhysling Awards for individual poems, the Dwarf Stars Award for short-short poems, and the Elgin Awards (new in 2013) for genre poetry books and chapbooks, named for the SFPA founder.”

Poet and editor Kenji Liu was the judge and I am thrilled to be in the company of such amazing poets.

Here is a tidbit of my poem:

I have a meat grinder and I have brought it to this forest. Invitations were sent and as the light fades, I see them twirl in, oblivious to danger. Leading the way is the fairest of them all (why doesn’t she use sunscreen nowadays?), the one who keeps losing her shoe, the one who went from mermaid to human and the rest of the princesses and common girls assemble.

Read the rest of my poem and all the amazing winning poems here.

I hope a dream or two of yours will bring up some deep fish.

 

Photo: The ‘sarcastic fringehead’ from jwz.org.

 

 


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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