Lucid Dreaming: How to Bust Through Writers Block
I love how my Writing Muse communicates with me through my dreams, especially if I set an intention to bust writer’s block while I sleep.
A couple of years ago, I got stalled writing Seduced by an Angel. I panicked, because I was on a stringent, self-imposed deadline for my e-book publisher. But my writing Muse, which is so much wiser than I am, already had the solution. I just needed to be smart enough to understand the cryptic message that my Muse was sending me, in my dreams!
To help you understand how lucid dreaming works, I’ll tell you about a workshop I attended. The speaker (who specialized in psychology, dream work, and the subconscious) advised us NOT to rely on books about dream interpretation. Instead, he told us to jot down any events, images, or conversations that we can remember from our dreams, and then evaluate them, based on personal meaning.
The speaker gave us an example from his own life. He described a recurring dream, in which a swarm of bees was bursting out of his body. In dream interpretation books, bees are often associated with “busy as a bee” or “the birds and bees,” and neither interpretation felt right to the speaker.
He finally figured out the dream’s message only after his doctor asked him, “What do bees mean to you?”
His answer? “Bees are angry little creatures.” Apparently, repressed anger was causing the health problem that he’d been experiencing.
That workshop opened my mind to new possibilities. I began to realize that a nap might actually solve my writer’s block!
You see, a lucid dreamer can do more than remember his dreams. He can direct his subconscious mind to solve problems, while he sleeps!
Of course, the challenge is to remember your dreams—and interpret the symbolic messages that are encoded in them.
So I decided to try the method that I’d learned in the workshop. I wanted to see if lucid dreaming could solve my writer’s block.
In the case of Seduced By An Angel, my writing problems started in Chapter 4. I couldn’t seem to write past Chapter 4. Pulling words out of my brain was like trying to force a watermelon through the eye of a needle.
I learned in the dream workshop that I needed to set a clear intention to solve my problem. I needed to do this minutes before falling asleep. To make the process even clearer (to my subconscious,) I was supposed to write a goal and tuck it under my pillow. So in my own handwriting, I jotted down the following intention: “While I sleep, I will learn how to fix Chapter 4, and I will remember the solution when I wake.”
I began my lucid-dreaming experiment on a Tuesday. I didn’t actually remember any dreams from that night, but I did receive a clear message. On Wednesday morning, and then again on Thursday morning, I woke with a single word, booming like thunder in my head: “HUMOR.”
I followed the advice from the workshop. Instead of grabbing the dream interpretation manual, sitting on my book shelf, I took the time to analyze what “humor” meant to me. Eventually, I concluded that my dream message was a sort of encouragement. It meant that I should keep a positive attitude in the face of frustration.
But I was wrong.
For days, my creative stall continued. By then, I had given up on the lucid dreaming method, even though I kept waking with that same booming message, “HUMOR!” reverberating through my head.
Finally, I got so frustrated with my writing that I took a nap. Quite literally, I fell asleep beside my computer. I think that’s the reason this particular nap solved my writers block. In other words, I didn’t wait 3 or 4 hours, until after I’d finished writing, to start dreaming; I fell asleep while I was writing!
When I woke, I had my long-awaited epiphany. Apparently, the Humor message was referring to the first three chapters of my book. My Muse was trying to tell me that my story had become too serious. At the rate I was going, Seduced By An Angel would become a jarring departure from the lighter, more humorous storylines in Books 1 and 2. To fix the problem, I would have to sacrifice a certain subplot and rewrite the novel from scratch.
No writer ever wants to hear that she has written 84 pages that will never see the light of day. On the other hand, the advice to rewrite is far more comforting, when it comes from your Writing Muse, than your publisher!
Best of all, I now I have a wonderful tool that I can use for the rest of my life. I’ve discovered how lucid dreaming works. Through simple intention-setting before I fall asleep, I can use my dreams to bust through writer’s block!