I live on a small pond in New England, so I awaken to the gentle sounds of birds singing, and often to a view of mist slowly rising from the pond as day breaks. The silence and sight gift me the feeling of time, space, and beauty that inspires me to write each day. I also keep a journal on my nightstand and keep my writing space prepped and ready. All of this facilitates the remembering of dreams, the capturing of ideas as fresh and elusive as morning mist, and a successful and productive transition to writing. Here’s how it works:
- Program your mind before you go to sleep at night, to train it to serve up jewels every morning. While you sleep, your brain is busy processing everything you encountered that day, assessing whether or not memories or experiences are important enough to remember, and, if so, what they should be linked to in your memory. If you spend a few minutes before going to sleep to contemplate your work in progress, pose story questions, request memories, or ask for inspiration, and particularly if you journal, or at the very least write those ideas or requests down, your brain will go to work while you sleep—often serving up answers and brilliant ideas the next morning. Keep a notebook or recorder by your bed to capture awakening thoughts.
- Spend 5-10 minutes in silence when you awaken. Doing so will keep your mind unfettered by distraction and receptive to thoughts bubbling up from your subconscious. It helps to wake up naturally (by conditioning yourself to wake up with the sun), or to use soft music to slowly awaken, rather than be jolted awake by a loud alarm. If you can sit still and “meditate” for 5-10 minutes, you will be creating the ideal environment for your brain to do exactly what you want it to do—dream up great ideas while you sleep and remember them the next morning. If you do this regularly, your brain will reward you with even more ideas.
- Create a “safe place” for your brain. Your reptilian brain has a system that constantly monitors the environment for danger (tigers, lions, bears). This keeps the fearful part of your brain on guard, which can be very distracting. If you create a “safe place” to write and verbally acknowledge when you enter that space that you will be “safe from harm,” your brain’s monitoring system will power down. It also helps to create rituals, such as having a cup of tea while you reread what you wrote the day before or lighting a candle and meditating for five minutes, to help your brain transition from your everyday life to writing
If you gift your brain the time and space to coalesce thoughts, dream, slowly awaken, and feel safe while you write, it will gift you plenty of ideas and more facile writing sessions.