What if you want to write a novel, but you’re frightened of the struggle?
Several months ago I coached a novelist who was terrified of beginning another novel. She’s written three novels, and is pleased with the sales, but couldn’t face writing another.
“I want to write, but I can’t,” she said. “I’ve been putting off starting for six months. Maybe I should give up, and write a nonfiction book?”
Write a novel from your heart: what do you REALLY want to write?
Writers write. Writing may not always be comfortable, and at times you wish you were doing something else — anything else. Sooner or later however you realize that writing is just something you do, and you’re happier writing than not writing.
So, I asked the novelist to dig into her subconscious to discover what she really wanted to write. What if she kept a dream journal for a week?
Dream journal to access your creative self
Your creative self is part of you; a powerful part. If you’re not writing, chances are that your creative self is putting blocks in your way.
A dream journal is a simple way mine your subconscious mind, and uncover your creative blocks.
Funny story. A few years back a client commissioned me to create a plan for a series of horror novels, with the main characters, and the first three books in the series plotted out. He was targeting the Young Adult market.
Problem: generally speaking, I avoid horror stories. My favorite horror tale is Casting The Runes, by M.R. James.
So, I decided that I’d better leave generating ideas to my subconscious. I kept a journal beside my bed, and each night, I imagined myself waking up in the morning, with the perfect idea for a horror series.
This worked rather too well. (I’ve often thought that the subconscious mind has a sense of humor.) For the two months I that worked on the series, I’d wake up at least three times a week, shaking from a nightmare. It got so bad that I slept with the light on.
I’ve used dream journaling since, without any drama, so I’ve no idea why the nightmares occurred. 🙂
A dream journal exercise to help you to write a novel you really want to write
The dream journal exercise is simple. Before you go to sleep, write in your journal: “I need a plot for a story that I’d love to tell.”
When you wake up, scribble a sentence or two about any dreams you remember. Keep your notes brief, there’s no need to analyze your dreams, you’re just nudging your creative self.
If you wish, and if you enjoy drawing, draw or paint any images from a dream.
The blocked novelist I was coaching started writing a new novel three days after she began dream journaling, so that process worked for her. I chatted to her after Christmas, and she’s still using her dream journal. She says that the process has helped her in many areas of her life.
Resistance is common when you write a novel
“Resistance” is the feeling that you want to write, but you can’t. Unfortunately, resistance is common when you’re writing a novel.
Here’s the thing — it doesn’t matter why you’re resisting writing. You don’t need to know why. You just need a way to prime the pump of your creativity again. Try journaling, dream journaling, or even bullet journaling — the process may work for you too.
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