Writing Advice from My Dreams.
I am working on my next book and was feeling frustrated at how slow I’ve been going recently. I admit I have also been trying to force myself forward. But then, recently, something happened that shifted my perspective.
One morning, I woke up from a dream with a very clear image in my head of a hen sitting on top of an egg. I didn’t remember anything about the dream except this “after-image.” But it was so clear that I realized that that is what I was doing.
I was incubating the rest of my book.
I was not stuck but sitting on an idea that’s not ready to crack just yet. This reminded me once again of how creative work is not mechanical work. It’s a work of fusing things together, bringing together different ideas and letting them create sparks.
Then, recently, I had yet another dream.
In it, one of my first writing teachers appeared, first as himself and then, wearing the face of a wise old man. In the dream, he was telling me that if I wanted to write shorter pieces and articles, I could let the topics be as eclectic and varied as the topics I read in the books I choose intuitively.
This felt so interesting.
I have been thinking about how I have two separate writers living inside me. One is the writer who LOVES to think, who loves to dig deep, and can carry on deepening ideas for a very long time. This writer is a bit like a monk. She can spend hours and hours by herself, just turning ideas around in her head and writing. You could think of it as The Thinker, as depicted in the famous Rodin sculpture.
This is the writer inside me that wrote my memoir The Empath’s Journey. I worked on the book for over two years. I did more than 14 drafts. After a while, I just stopped counting. Each time I read a draft, I saw how I could clarify some ideas even further and deepen them more.
I worked very hard to write the best book I could write at that point. And I think it was the energy and momentum created by all this work that cracked open something & led to me to first synchronistically getting nominated and then being awarded a silver medal at the REX awards last year for helping create more awareness about highly sensitive people.
While this was all amazing and is now a cherished part of my journey as a writer, the actual process of writing The Empath’s Journey was very exhausting. While I was writing the book, I felt drained a lot. At times, I had a lot of resistance.
Of course, a lot of this was because I wrote a memoir about something so essential about me, something that made me feel deeply vulnerable. But I was also deepening my understanding as I wrote the book and going deeper and deeper into what being sensitive really means.
This letting things simmer and ideas deepen is definitely one of the writing styles I deeply resonate with. Many of the writers I love, such as Anita Desai, write like this as well.
But then, there is the other writer inside me.
She is my INFP side who gets bored really easily. She loves, absolutely LOVES variety. She is also the person who has new ideas constantly but then gets paralyzed and can’t decide which one to choose. And she is the one who loves to jump from one topic to the other.
So, I have been thinking of writing some short articles and short stories that I’ll write very quickly to express this part of me. These will be things I complete in a day or a couple of days, kind of like how I do with guest blog posts.
But there are SO MANY ideas to choose from. So, I have been thinking: Should all these short pieces have something in common? Wouldn’t I be all over the place if I wrote about things that simply called to me?
How should I approach this?
And my answer, after all my thinking, came in my dream.
There seems to be a part of me, either something deeper and more ancient OR something that can connect to the deeper layer of the world, that knows what I need. It has the wisdom to give me the advice I need. It shows me how to choose.
That’s why dreams are so helpful to tune in to our intuition. My dreams have again been very intense in these past few months. I am again feeling the need to go inside. I am going to experiment with asking my dreams for more advice and see if anything else comes up. The inner world seems so full of light, even as the outer world is on pause right now.
Ritu Kaushal is the author of the memoir The Empath’s Journey. Set during the first few years after she emigrated from India to the United States, it connects personal stories with practical tools to help highly sensitive people channel their gifts.
Ritu also works as a creativity coach for blocked writers.
Originally published n Ritu’s site: https://www.walkingthroughtransitions.com on May 4, 2020.