Sunday, August 16, 2009

Intuition

It can prove mystifying when someone–a teacher, another writer, a close friend or confidant–advises you to “trust your intuition” when you’re facing a difficult decision in your work.

How can you trust something that’s so elusive, so hard to define?

What is “intuition” anyway?

And how do you learn to trust it?

Here’s how intuition is defined in The Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Intuition - the power or faculty of knowing things without conscious reasoning
What’s encouraging (to a writer) about this definition is its suggestion that we have an ability to know the world not only in the conscious realm but through our unconscious, as well.

That’s encouraging because it suggests each writer has a way of relating to problems and finding solutions to those problems by tapping into his unconscious mind.

But how do you–how does any writer–find a path into the unconscious part of his or her brain?

Finding that path involves learning to let go of expectations so you can hear your own thoughts, not those of anyone else. Eventually, you want to be able to write down those thoughts as they come to you unfiltered through anyone else’s expectations.

It also involves opening up to the odd, strange, and sometimes downright bizarre thoughts that may flit through your mind on occasion and letting these thoughts--any thoughts--come without judgment, without criticism.

It means opening to the possibility that you may have nothing to say... and then sitting with the silence (like treading water and noticing what’s happening around you) until a thought enters your head, pulses through your heart, emerges as an impulse in your fingers, and begins moving your pen across the page.

As you write page after page, day after day, month after month, year after year, you may begin to notice the slightest vibration--the first twinge of intuition--in the back of your throat as the words emerge, almost like a compass needle vibrating as it points north.

At this point, you may feel your words emerging on the paper as you see them appearing in your unconscious... almost as if you’re copying down the words before they disappear again into the sea of your unconscious.

Trusting your intuition means not thinking as you write but, rather, feeling your way with words through a deep part of your unconscious, using words to reach a place beyond words and beyond reason.

You won’t know what you’ll find there until you arrive... and you won’t arrive there until you let go of your expectations and allow the words to float to the surface and flow without judgment or praise.

Writing in this way is almost like dreaming while half-awake, moving your pen across the page and putting words down.

When you wake up from the "dream" or dream-state, you may discover the solution to your problem.

Trust your intuition. It will lead you where you need to go.

For more on trusting intuition, visit:
http://www.writewhatyouknow.com/qom.php?question_id=36
http://www.freelancewritingsuccess.com/brian-tracy3.php
http://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/20/style/relationships-learning-to-trust-intuition.html
http://articles.latimes.com/1990-08-19/news/vw-3026_1_intuitive-people
http://www.trans4mind.com/counterpoint/rowley8.shtml
http://www.ideamarketers.com/?writing_coach&articleid=413974
http://www.articlesbase.com/spirituality-articles/what-is-intuition-938544.html
http://www.intuition.org/txt/gawain2.htm
http://www.creativity-portal.com/cca/valery-satterwhite/trust-intuition.html

4 comments:

Felicia Fredlund said...

Bruce, you are true inspirition. Thanks again for a wonderful post.

Sometimes I just get this sudden urge to get paper or computer in front of me pronto. When I follow it the words are fighting to be written, and if I even pause for one second during those times more words stream into my mind, showing me the way.

It is amazing when intuition guides us.

Carmela Martino said...

I love your metaphors, Bruce, especially the ones related to swimming. They feel so TRUE, even to a nonswimmer like me. Thanks for the inspiration!

laurasalas said...

This is great, Bruce. Here's my favorite part:

It also involves opening up to the odd, strange, and sometimes downright bizarre thoughts that may flit through your mind on occasion and letting these thoughts--any thoughts--come without judgment, without criticism.

Not that I have any of these odd, strange, or bizarre thoughts;>)

Very reassuring!

karim said...

Good one on Intuition and it helps a lot.

Thanks,
Karim - Mind Power