‘ Some colors exist in dreams that are not present in the waking spectrum.’ – Writers’ Block, Creativity and Dreaming

(Quotation – Terri Guillemets)

I miss dreaming – more accurately, I miss being able to remember the dreams I have had.

I spent a good many years teaching myself to remember the dreams I’d had and used to keep a diary of them. It was part of the training for a spiritual discipline/path I walk. A fairly simple process, keep a diary in which you write down the dreams you remember… giving youself permission to remember and slowly, over time, you remember more, and over even more time it is possible to be able to teach yourself to dream lucidly. That, I miss most of all, because therein sits the heart of my creativity.

It’s a conundrum – an issue at present and one which I don’t know how to get around – that for the sake of creativity I need quiet in order to let my mind wander and play with kernels of ideas that might spring to mind, but… not at the time I’m writing. When I’m writing I can have all kinds of noise and hubub (and often do), or, if I need a sharper focus I’ll put on an appropriate piece of music while I write. No, my mind needs the quiet at that time when I’m getting ready to sleep, and to dream, so that my unconscious mind can play with ideas without the interference of my conscious mind. My conscious mind does the work later, once all of the ‘not-thinking’ has been done.

I know this isn’t the case for all people that write. Many that write need to have quiet (even silence) in which to work… with no distractions, and many use noise and being ‘busy’ to prevent their minds chewing the daily cud (or crud), and constantly worrying over things that might be on their minds. That doesn’t work for me, if anything it has the reverse effect.

My issue is that right now, I’m suffering from the old cliche of ‘writer’s block. I’m majorly blocked at the moment because that quiet in preparation for dreaming, and ‘daydreaming’ at other times when I could just switch off and let my mind wander are just not happening, and hasn’t been happening for quite some time. At first I thought I’d be able to find a way to adjust, find a work around, however you want to put it, because I’ve made so many other changes, so many other adjustments, that this is just one more, right? Wrong. The more time passes, the more I’m realising that it’s one step too far for me, as much as I don’t want to admit defeat and in the wake of that, the more fractured my creativity is becoming. I am, as a result, becoming more frustrated and ‘dis-eased’ – certainly unhappy with the way things are, and locked in a spiral of increasing frustration that just increases the inability to adjust, the blockage in my creativity, and the generative part of my writing process. Worst of all, I don’t know what to do about it without imposing my needs upon others.

As an example of my issue, it’s been four days of trying and I still haven’t managed to make any headway in tweaking an outline that needs adjusting, I sit and stare at the open file that contains the outline, and nothing presents itself, because the generative side of the process is stalled, isn’t happening.

Interestingly enough, there was a segment on GMA this morning in which they were talking about the four most common mistakes parents make with toddlers, and the second thing they said was that it was a mistake to keep toddlers busy every single minute of every day. That they need times that look as if they are ‘bored’ during which their minds can wander, and their creativity develop, and I sat staring at the screen then thinking – YES! That’s me! That’s me exactly. I need that. I need that. I don’t need to be kept busy the whole time, doing something every minute of every day, because if it looks to you like I’m doing nothing – or I’m ‘idle’ or whatever, chances are actually I’m hard at work just letting my mind play. That’s being to me – that’s creativity in action.


About Eirian Houpe

Writer and Teacher. Published works: Eternal Dance (as Linden S Barclay) and articles for Wigston Magna Dog Training Club, and SFX Magazine.
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