Start using a tool we all have but often overlook. The results are worth it.
When focusing on a challenge and unable to find a solution, I turn the problem over to my subconscious. I use what Stephen King calls ‘the boys in the basement.’
I wasn’t sure how the final plot for my first published book would play out. (After all, I had already written five versions of the story.) I tossed it around in my head as I went to sleep. In the morning, I woke with the title bouncing in my head. Came Home Dead. The title came with a host of ideas and shaped the book.
There is a good reason why it works.
Years ago, an instructor described our sub-conscious minds as a honeycomb. As snippets of memory and information enter our brains, they are stored in tiny compartments. Since the subconscious has no sense of organization or judgment, the good, the bad, and the ugly are stored willy-nilly in our honeycombs--one snippet per little cubby.
Given a topic, a question, or an event the boys in the basement or the girls in the backroom, race up and down the rows pulling out any idea that is remotely connected.
The searchers toss all the information into conduits that deliver the bits into the conscious mind. Bingo, we have answers or ideas to work with.
This happens daily without our participation, delivering up joy, anger, comments, and sarcasm. Not all of it is productive when we are non-focused.
Why not use it deliberately, it helps more often than not.
- State your question or problem.
- Be specific. Put it down in writing or typing.
- Occupy your conscious mind with mundane tasks.
Take a walk, clean the oven, mow the lawn— tasks requiring minimal thought.
Always have the means to capture what comes up.
This process produces results and provides starting ideas and a cure for writer’s block.