Well I’ve started work on the third Prosper Snow novel and I have some interesting ideas.
But the thought process itself is a strange beast as it takes place behind closed doors, in the subconscious. It’s like when you’re trying to think of where you’ve seen someone before, or when you’re trying to think of a word for a crossword puzzle. If you concentrate on it too much, it just becomes frustrating, but then when you stop thinking about it and let your subconscious do the work, that eureka moment strikes when you least expect and the answer comes rushing to the surface. I often have problems with plots where I think ‘How the hell am I going to get my character out of this?’ but then I go and do something else, like go for a jog or do the washing up, anything to stop thinking about the problem, and then that eureka moment will strike like a bullet between the brain and the answer presents itself. Sometimes there even seems to be something else at work as the answer might come from a television program or a newspaper article. These are what I think of as moments of serendipity when something you want to find out about presents itself through another media.
But there are other ways that you can make your subconscious work, namely by making requests before you go to sleep.
Step 1: Before you go to sleep, close your eyes and take one minute to make a request to your subconscious. It can be anything, but try not to make it something that is unobtainable or virtually impossible. Try small things, such as wanting to get lots of writing done, or winning a race that you are entering.
Step 2: Take two minutes to visualize yourself actually able to do this thing. Say it’s the motivation to write. Imagine yourself getting up the next day and then picture yourself at the computer or with a pen in hand. Then see yourself effortlessly writing words. See the pages flowing down the screen. See yourself in the groove, the prose pouring out of you.
Step 3: Take two minutes to imagine how you will feel when you are able to accomplish this aim. How do you feel when you see how productive you’ve been? Thrilled? Happy? Now imagine that you have already created this emotion inside of yourself. Let it sink in, then go to sleep and let your subconscious do the rest of the work.
You might not sit down the next day and write a masterpiece, but if you are fired up to start writing, then that’s a start. This process can be used for any situation. Entering a race. Going for a job interview etc. Just remember that the mind is a powerful tool, and it wants to help you.