The Four Elements of Unlimited Inspiration for Creative Writing
This also works for anything needing a solution. Anything. Everything.
Yes, these are that basic and far more powerful than you’ll ever need.
Know Your Mind
This obviously goes right into the villain of the piece: conventional wisdom. Science has no answers to this, which isn’t surprising. Because they are only one-quarter of the full range analysis methods.
Social media isn’t any help, as usual. You can’t Google this, because their results are polluted by opinions. No, its not really in psychology texts. Again, because Science can’t figure this out on its own.
Your mind isn’t your brain.
If you go back to the oldest philosophies, the ones which have survived since before recorded history, they hold that the mind is in three parts: 1) Your conscious, 2) Your Subconscious, 3) The Infinite Mind (superconscious). But I like to consider one of their modern shamans, Daddy Bray, who considered these to be a metaphor. They do give a model you can use to get started.
Again, throw out conventional wisdom on this, at least until you can test every datum for yourself. Because those ideas are designed to keep you safely ineffective. (Safe for you, safe for everyone around you.)
The two most effective sets of training you can access to know your mind are Silva Method and Releasing Methods. Jose Silva pushed the knowledge of brain waves and beliefs in order to come out with some key breakthroughs. He found that creative people found solutions while in their alpha brain wave state. This is attained through most forms of meditation. But he later found that they are most creative at the delta brain wave state. This is best described as the area between dreams and waking. Again, some advanced meditation techniques can eventually train you go get into this state. Or a few hours of study with Silva’s courses can get you there.
Releasing is simply letting go. Lester Levenson and his students have developed this to a fine art and have many good courses on these. Catherine Ponder also briefly discusses it in her “Dynamic Laws of Prosperity.”
When you release (let go) while you’re in an alpha or delta mind-state, you achieve better results with each.
That gets us into the next element – but just in those few paragraphs above, you know all the basics about the mind and how it works. (I’ll give you some books in the summary section below, so you can study more about them.)
Practice Makes Permanent
So said Dr. Wayne Dyer and others. Their point is that the more you work at things, the more they tend to make changes in the world around you. You develop habits of expectations, and so – as you seek, you find.
The other trick to this was pointed out by Chris Fox in a couple of his books and videos, “What you measure, you can improve.”
Fox is known for his claim that anyone can train themselves to type out 5,000 words in an hour. He accomplished this by keeping track of his word counts and doing sprints – where you simply type the best you can for shorter times, like 20 or 30 minutes. You don’t correct spelling or punctuation. You never hit the backspace or delete keys, you simply write.
What that actually does is help you get rid of your editing mind and stay tuned into your creative mind. Don’t every worry about what you typed. If you want to then let your editing mind go at fixing all that wordage, fine. Consider, though, the musician who plays sales over and over, day after days. They practice songs over and over and over. Do they record these? No. The point is that they know these things so well that they’ve become a habit.
Fox’s use of repetitive time slots is to get you to bring your creative mind to the forefront and let loose your fire-hose of creativity. Give your editing mind a break. It will have plenty to do later. Now, in a recent podcast, Fox said his average now is “only” 3600 words an hour. And that is the point of practice making your speed increase. By measuring and tracking your production, you can improve it.
Another author, Rachel Aaron, wrote her own take on this. In her process you also track what time of day and what locations you wrote. All on a spreadsheet over several weeks or months. This allows you to narrow down where and when you are most productive. Her goal was to get to 10K per day of writing. (Obviously, using both in combination could bring you up to “pulp speed” quickly.) But a key point she found is to actually write what you are really interested in writing. Her understanding of this is that if you aren’t interested in writing it, your readers won’t be interested in reading it.
Dean Wesley Smith named several ranges of daily/weekly/annual output as “Pulp Speed.” The lowest run on his ladder was to simply produce 3000 words per day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. What this would do is to bring you to a point of producing over 80K words per month and over a million words per year. Again, it’s tracking what you are producing and then consistently working to improve it.
Searching out that phrase “pulp speed” found a podcast from some time back, where they interviewed a couple of high-speed authors. In both cases, they had trained themselves to have their creative mind working in an on/off basis. While one had preferred times to write, the other wrote in 30-minute sprints. Both would shut out everything else except what they were writing at the moment and simply churn out wordage. (As a note, those 30-minute sprints were done despite having a day job and a 8-month old child in the home. It can be done.)
But you have to track what you do to improve it.
Adopt a Sensical Lifestyle
And you’ll have to define what is “sensical” for yourself. Basically, it means “what works for you.” It probably goes back to an ancient saying, “Truth is as valuable as it is workable.”
On this site, you’ll find various references to maintaining a four-element system in your life: Mind, Body, Value, Bliss. You know your own mind, you know how to help your body stay well and healthy, you give value in excess in all you do, and you follow your own “bliss.” Of course, that is a ridiculously cut-down shorthand view of it.
For Creative Writing, or problem-solving, you want to know how to access your creative side anytime you want. You need to have a healthy body that supports your creative side (doesn’t get sick, tired, etc.) You need to know the business side of writing and publishing, and always work to produce far more value than you ask in exchange (price of your books or courses.) And you need to know why you are writing, getting the maximal joy out of the experience.
When you work out and know these things for yourself, then you can build a useful framework or model to follow. You can then let go of anything that doesn’t contribute to that flow. Your lifestyle can then support being able to turn on and off your inspired writing anytime you want to. And you’ll be well-paid for your consistent production.
That is living sensical.
Produce A Body of Work
Michelangelo and DaVinci had this mindset back in the Renaissance. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Sister Theresa, and others you know all fit into this same mindset. They were and are constantly productive, constantly adding value to the world around them. And people who do this get regularly rewarded. Writers like Isaac Asimov, Jack London, Mark Twain, J.K. Rowling.
A search on Wikipedia for million-selling authors showed that on average they published over 166 books each. Few six-figure authors accomplish their income without having a dozen or more novels out there, often in addition to hundreds of other works. You could try to point to single books as the apparent exception: like Wool, The Martian, and 50 Shades of Grey – but you’d find out that these authors wrote for years and often did hundreds or thousands of blog and/or forum posts before their “one book” made it big.
Dean Wesley Smith pointed out that the pulp fiction writers that are well-known today (like Asimov) wrote consistently for decades. Decades. The ones who made a living at it, but went off to do other things after a few years, are either unknown, or known for something else.
And it’s not that you have to do this for notoriety, acclaim, or adoration. Those would be futile. You have to find your own why and discover your own bliss by narrowing down what drives you forward, what makes you feel good, enjoy life most of the time, what you would do even if you couldn’t get paid for it, what you love to talk about all the time.
Smith covers the point that there is a continual joy in writing. That writers have to love the creative action of writing.
The point of to this element is that you need to take the long view of things and see yourself doing this a decade from now. That’s if you are applying this to achieving your goals as a successful author.
You can take these same four elements an apply them to any field. Musk, Gates, Buffett, and others are doing this in their own fields. And there are thousands unknown or little known who have been successful writing only a single book (or, like Napoleon Hill, writing essentially the same bestselling book over and over, in addition to numerous personal appearances, as he evolved the underlying philosophy behind them.)
Earl Nightingale called this having a River of Interest. In that talk, he tells of actors who consistently worked at their craft for their entire lives, such as Mickey Rooney. He started when his parent brought him on stage as a baby, and he grew up and old in the craft of acting. When burlesque changed to vaudeville, changed to early movies, changed to our modern effect-laden blockbusters, he kept acting. Henry Fonda was another. And you can find more of these. Directors are this way, as long as they keep at it.
It’s not that every book is a bestseller, or even sells at all. Asimov produced over 500 full books, in addition to many short stories. Arguably, he is best known for his Foundation trilogy. Robert Heinlein had many hits in his long career, “Stranger in a Strange Land” stands out, while many more have been turned into movies. Look up actors, authors, directors on Imdb and you’ll find the prolific ones.
The point is to do what you love and love what you do. Then keep this up as a very long career.
As you perfect your application of the elements above, you’ll see many ways to improve your craft. And you’ll have a lot to share with people who want to follow your output, your career. But plan to make a career of it. You probably still have at least another decade you can invest in being creative, in finding joy in your life, in loving everything you do.
These four elements can help you succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
You only have to start working on them. The second best time to start is now.
- Know Your Mind
- Practice Makes Permanent
- Live a Sensical Lifestyle
- Produce a Body of Work
And… Have fun at this.
- Living Sensical Manifesto (download PDF)
- Live Sensical Articles
- Live Sensical Podcasts
- Strangest Secret Library
Body of Work:
Part of the Great Fiction Writing Challenge Series. Stay tuned…
Also published on Medium.