Sunday, February 21, 2010

Creating from the Dream World

“I tell my writing students that works of art do not come from the mind; they come from the place where you dream.”
~Robert Olen Butler

Last week I wrote about how we can use our dreams to create our stories both in life and on the page. This week I’m going to let someone else talk via his online lectures. Robert Olen Butler is Pulitzer-winning novelist and professor of creative writing at Florida State University. His book “From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction” inspired me to go deeper into the trance state when writing fiction. I don’t follow his process completely, but he has given me confidence to write from the subconscious. I’m more comfortable there. I’ve never been one to create detailed outlines. Of course we need to use whatever works best for us, but I think what he has to say about the creative process is helpful.

Have you ever tried to live your life by a detailed plan and then have your life be completely derailed from this plan? I know when I get too caught up in the details of my plan that I’m not present enough to deal with the derailment. I’ve found it’s better to be in touch with your intuition and go with the flow. Sure, have goals and plans, we all need direction, but don’t adhere to them to the point of trying to force life to happen the way you want. You may miss out on something better. Same goes for writing. Have a loose plan if you need one, but be open to what floats up out of the subconscious. That’s where the real magic takes place. It’s the source of the spells you want to cast with your words.

So enough chatter from me, go visit Robert’s “Inside Creative Writing” web page and listen to his sessions on his process. They are long and there are 17 of them, but give it a try. I have yet to go through them all. It is interesting and so is the book. At the very least, go into that writing trance and see what comes up from the depths.

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