Creativity : Release your Subconscious Mind

"Now he became aware of an entirely new sensation: pinpricks? No, because they were soft and without pain. Tiny, cold, feather-like feelings peppered his body and face. He put out his tongue again, and caught one of the dots of cold upon it. It disappeared from his awareness instantly; but he caught another, and another. The sensation made him smile."
- Lois Lowry, The Giver (pg. 81).
When it comes to writing fiction, I find that your ego must fall away in order for your imagination to take over. On productive days, when my door shuts, sound falls away, and I’m left uninterrupted, the real world simply evaporates from memory. I like to think of this transition as what the Buddhists call “dissolving the self.”

Although you sit down to write, to paint, to compose accompanied by all of your past experiences, in order to create your conscious mind must turn outward, to your unmapped reality, even as your unconscious turns inward. You must see your creations without imposing judgment, prejudice, or self-interest.

Sometimes, though, no matter how hard I strain, my thoughts turn inward, to my own life. After all, we all struggle with our weekly demons. Perhaps you’re frustrated at work, or recently argued with a friend or family member, otherwise you embarrassed yourself in a social situation. Each of us stumbles over these breaches in our life paths.

Fortunately, practice and various exercises can help immerse you in your creative process. Some visualize dropping their critics into a jar and sealing it closed for them to screech like trapped mice, others actually do that by writing down who and what they’re dealing and securing the lid tight. Another solution is giving such problems their due attention. Consider why they haunt you and if they’re really worth your worry. I have a tendency of relating my personal problems to my characters’ own, not to confused hem but to shed light on what these fictional people might be grappling.

Another technique is throwing on your earphones, going for a walk or a run, and visualizing the project ahead. Think of it as a game of make believe. When it comes to fiction writing, this dredges up my character’s relationships, motives, and internal conflicts. This playful exercise has become so routine for me that by attempting it, I can determine if my writer’s brain is poised for the focused hours ahead or, when the visualizations won’t come, if I should switchover to more left-brained projects.

Whatever your method, don’t be too hard on yourself if creativity shirks yours advances. Some days, it’s just not meant to be…

How do you “dissolve the self”?
Look outwards to examine what's within.