Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekly Creativity Tip: Dream Solutions

When you get stuck in your writing or need the answer to a question related to your career, such as whether a particular agent is right for you or you should spend the money to attend a particular conference, ask your subconscious mind for a Dream Solution. Write your question on an index card, addressing your subconscious mind, and put it under your pillow. The next morning, be alert to any hunches or feelings that guide you toward the right answer. Sometimes the answer will "pop" into your head or you will get an overwhelming sense that you should take one action over another.

Check in every Monday for weekly creativity tips from THINKING WRITE: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind, available now from Adams Media.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Guest Blogger: Poet Franklin Abbott

Please welcome my dear friend Franklin Abbott as guest blogger today! Franklin and I were members of the same writing group, The Ninth Muse, for many years. Franklin is a poet who has several books of poetry in print. Franklin has a wonderful habit of writing poems on the spur of the moment and then emailing those to all his friends. Several years ago, I started a file in my email just to save all of his work. I often go back and re-read his poems.

Franklin's latest book of poetry is PINK ZINNIA, available now at, through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and through special order from your favorite independent bookstore. Franklin will be giving readings at three of them this fall, as well as at Outwrite in Atlanta on October 6th, DogEar Books in Madison, GA on November 14th and Charis in Atlanta on his birthday, December 8. Soon to be operational: .
Leave a comment below and Franklin will have a drawing at the end of the week. One lucky person who leaves a comment will receive a FREE copy of PINK ZINNIA!
Q: Welcome Franklin! Please tell us about your new book, Pink Zinnia.
A: This is my first book in a decade. I started writing in earnest again after joining our writing group, The Ninth Muse. Thanks to you and the current muses for giving me encouragement, inspiration and a forum to begin again after a long dry spell. The book is a collection of different kinds of writing: meditations, stories, word portraits, lamentations, humor (lots of humor), politics and dreamscapes.

Q: You have been writing poetry for a long time, and I'm often amazed at how your poems resonate with something that is going on in my own life. Talk some about your poetry-writing process and where you get your inspiration.
A: I am inspired by all kinds of things, nature, relationship, the big events of life from falling in love to dying, travel, the news, the need to connect. I rarely write unless a stroke of inspiration falls me. I can write purposefully if moved by an event like my grandmother's funeral or to eulogize a friend. Only one poem, "Miss Monroe," was written at the request of a publisher. Often the poems come out 95% the way they end up. I just sit down and write like I breathe, it is that essential. It is also relational. Being a psychotherapist for thirty years has tuned me into the people I know in profound ways I often don't understand. I write about my psychic friend, Kay Harrison in one of the stories. I once asked her how she knew what she knew and she said,"It's easier than you think." I am often tuned in to others in ways I am not fully conscious of and don't quite understand. Its like having an extra band on the radio, AM, FM and PM (p for psychic and my psychic doesn't give readings but writes poems).

Q: Pink Zinnia was inspired by your grandmother. What was she like? Was she also a poet?
A: My father's mother who I called Nana lived to be 101 and was independent until she was 98. So I had the great good fortune to know her into my 50's. She was a simple woman with little more than an elementary school education. She wrote very little but was a poet in the kitchen and in the garden. She loved to cook, grow things to eat and grow and arrange flowers. Pink was her favorite color and she grew more zinnias than any other flower. I am currently working on a film about my grandmother that should be on YouTube soon, called, of course, Pink Zinnia.

Q: What is the hardest part about being a poet? What's the best part?
A: It is the same thing. Poetry is no way to make money and therefore poets are free to write as they please, as little or as much, as good or as bad, as often or as seldom. To be sure, some are driven but the riches they seek are usually teaching positions or tenure, maybe a prize but no one makes much money except maybe Rumi who died 500 years ago and is en vogue in translation.

Q: Can you share a favorite stanza or entire poem from this latest collection?

A: This one is a favorite of my nephew John Abbott:
It is about a "good death."

like a lump of sugar
in a cup of milk
when my time is nigh
may I dissolve
into the mother light
that gave me birth
(where I belong
in the Milky Way)
when I see the light
may I not blink
in the face of love
but let myself go
all of me
every particle
into that
abiding wave

Thank you for being with us today, Franklin, and good luck with PINK ZINNIA

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Your Most Powerful Writing Tool

For those of you who missed it, here's the popular blog I posted over at Star Crossed Romance last week. Please leave a comment!

Your Most Powerful Writing Tool

You have in your possession a writing tool that is more beneficial to you than all other tools combined, and it’s likely your most underutilized—your subconscious mind. Learning to use your subconscious mind will open up avenues of creative inspiration that can benefit your writing in ways you may have never thought possible.

There are three components to your mind, as studied and analyzed by Sigmund Freud, the father of modern day psychology. First is the conscious mind, the day to day thinking portion of mind. The conscious mind can only attend to one thought at a time, so you are limited in how much information is available to you using your conscious mind.

The preconscious mind is a layer between the conscious and the subconscious. It’s a very concrete, “all or nothing” portion of mind that often causes conflict and attempts to interfere with the goals of the conscious mind. I call this interference the “anti-writer™.” I will give you a technique for dealing with your anti-writer later in this article.

The subconscious mind operates independently from your conscious and preconscious. It is like a giant computer system with multiple input sources, constantly recording all of the details of your life. The subconscious has some very unique characteristics. For instance, it is always alert; it functions even during periods when the conscious mind is asleep or altered in some way, such as surgery. It stores material indefinitely. All of the information that you are exposed to on a day to day basis is stored in the subconscious. Think about how gaining access to this treasure trove of material can impact your ability to write scenes and create characters. Last, the subconscious creates your reality. Many people have spoken about this truth before, such as Napoleon Hill, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Zig Ziglar, and others—basically, what you think about all the time programs your subconscious mind to bring into reality. Learning to direct this power can help you achieve your writing goals.

Easy Ways to Work With Your Subconscious

Here are some easy ways to tap into the power of your subconscious mind.

Ask for a Dream Solution

Dreams are a spontaneous way that the subconscious gets information to the conscious mind. Robert Louis Stevenson is one famous writer known for using his dreams almost exclusively for material. He called his dreams “the stage” of his mind. He would go to sleep at night anticipating receiving the next chapter for his work in progress. He even credited his famous story Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde to a dream.

You can use your dreams in the same way by asking for what I call a dream solution. You do this by asking your subconscious mind a question before you go to sleep, such as, “Subconscious, what is the next scene in my novel?” or “Subconscious, would Agent X be a good match for me?" or “Subconscious, give me an idea for a new book.”

Some people write the question on an index card and put it under their pillow. The gesture is symbolic, but writing down the instruction seems to increase the chances of a dream solution.

Sometimes the answer may come to you first thing in the morning, other times it comes at an unexpected moment days or even weeks later. It takes time to learn how your subconscious mind provides you with the answer; some people experience hunches, others get flashes of insight, others get “feelings” that they should take some action. The more you practice with dream solutions the more attuned you will become to the unique way your subconscious communicates with you.

I have used dream solution work with my own writing. The night before I handed in the manuscript for Time to Write, I asked my subconscious mind to alert me to any errors in the copy. When I woke up, I got a mental picture of three misspelled words and found the errors in the exact sections that my subconscious had indicated they would be in.

The Hypnagogic State

The Hypnagogic state is a phase of sleep that occurs naturally before falling asleep and before fully waking up. It’s characterized by altered consciousness; some people see flashes of light, others hear their name being called, and ideas that under ordinary conditions have no association are perceived as being connected. It’s a period ripe with creativity. Mary Shelley got the idea for the classic novel Frankenstein while in this drowsy state.

One way to practice with the hypnagogic state without drifting into full sleep is to lay down and hold one arm straight up. You can learn to stay in the zone between sleeping and wakefulness just by balancing your arm up. When you feel yourself getting too sleepy, write down whatever was going through your mind at the time.

Beware Your Anti-Writer™!

Everything that passes from your subconscious into your conscious mind must pass through the preconscious, which is where the anti-writer™ resides. If this anti-writer™ portion is not controlled, it can interfere with your ability to use your subconscious mind for maximum creative gain and thwart your writing goals. The anti-writer™ usually manifests in the form of negative comments you say or think about your abilities as a writer.

To combat your anti-writer™, record all negative statements you say or think about your writing abilities in a notebook. At the end of two weeks, note themes or statements that are repeated more than three times. Next, write countering statements on index cards and say these out loud daily, especially when you have a negative thought. For instance, if your anti-writer statement is, "I just don't have the time to write with my busy schedule," counter with, "I know there is time in my day to write and I will find it." Immediately countering the statement will set up a habit of neutralizing these negative thoughts.

Your subconscious mind is your most powerful writing ally. Learning to tap into this vast creative resource will aid both your creativity and your writing career efforts. There are many more exercises in my book, THINKING WRITE, The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind, just released by Adams Media.

Moody, Dr. Raymond:
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, third edition. Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, London, 1831.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Across the Plains. Chattus & Windus, London, 1892
Stone, R. Michael, Counseling & Consultation Services:

copyright: 2009 Kelly L. Stone, all rights reserved. Unauthorized use of this article in any format is strictly prohibited without written permission from the author.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No Matter How Busy You Are, You Can Find TIME TO WRITE™

Finding TIME TO WRITE can be done, no matter how busy you are! Time to Write: More Than 100 Professional Writers Reveal How to Fit Writing into Your Busy Life (Adams Media, Jan 2008) reveals how 104 professional authors, including more than 40 NYT bestsellers, managed to find time to write before they were career published, all while holding down jobs, caring for families, juggling household responsibilities and managing to get sufficient amounts of sleep.

Everyone is busy, so finding time to write must be woven into the fabric of your day to day life, one thread at a time. Here are a few tips:

1) Make writing appointments. Making time to write is similar to any new activity that you are attempting to fit into your life; let's use exercise as an example. How do you do it? You plan ahead. You decide that you'll exercise for twenty minutes, three times a week. You might choose Tuesday and Thursday at six o’clock and Saturday at nine o’clock. It's the same idea with writing. Decide when you will write, and then jot it down in your calendar. Whatever time slots you choose, write them down and then…

2) …keep the appointments. Just like you won't reap the health benefits that come with exercise if you don’t regularly break a sweat, you won't reap the benefits of consistent writing if you routinely blow it off. So work hard to keep that writing appointment. Treat it like it’s “real,” just like an appointment with the doctor or at your child’s school. The only way to do this is to exercise self-discipline and make yourself follow through.

3) Stay Focused. When it’s writing time, you should be writing. Don't let yourself get sucked into surfing the Internet, checking e-mail or making a grocery list.

4) Plan your work. When you make the weekly appointments, also plan what you’ll be working on during that time: Monday you'll use your twenty minutes to create plot points, Wednesday you'll use the hour for writing freely on your draft and during Friday’s thirty minute session, you'll revise what you did that week. Maximize the time spent at your desk by planning ahead how you'll tackle that day's writing session.

5) Set long range and intermediate goals. Knowing what you're striving for (long range goals) will help you decide how much time you need to write and how much work you should produce during that time (intermediate goals). For example, decide what date in the future you want to have your book finished. Then, work backwards to determine how much writing you should do every week to meet that deadline. If the draft of your novel will be four hundred pages and you want to finish it in a year, then you'll have to write thirty-three pages per month (four-hundred divided by twelve), or roughly eight pages a week (thirty-three divided by four). If you write three days a week, that's two to three pages each sitting. Break your writing down this way to make time management seem easier.

6) Make up lost time. Let’s face it--life happens. If you miss a writing appointment because your kid gets sick or your car breaks down or there’s a family function you simply must attend, cut yourself some slack, but do plan to make up the lost time the following week if possible. This means you might have to make four writing appointments instead of your usual three, or write two hours one day instead of just one. Make every effort to stay on track with your weekly goal.

7) Reward yourself. This is an important step because you want to associate positive feelings with that self-discipline you’ve been practicing. It reinforces the behavior and increases the chances that you’ll do it again. So at the end of each week that you kept your writing appointments, do something nice for yourself. Take a bubble bath, get a pedicure, have a romantic dinner with your spouse or buy your favorite author's latest release. You can even reward yourself at the end of each writing session. For example: If I write for thirty minutes, I can watch General Hospital.

Finding time to write is a dilemma that every writer faces, published or not. The tips above are based on my interviews with 104 professional writers on how they do it, and there are a lot more in TIME TO WRITE. Give them a try!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind

Coming October 18, 2009 from Adams Media

Learn how to use the power of your subconscious mind to:

* Meet Your Writing Goals!

* Access Your Unlimited Creativity!

* Communicate with Your Subconscious Using Ordinary Household Items!

* Generate Fresh Story Ideas!

* Give the Perfect Pitch to an Editor!

* Get Critical Career Guidance!

* Use Music and Dreams for Writing Inspiration!

* And Much More!

Get Creativity Tips from bestselling authors Allison Brennan, Dianna Love, Cheryl Holt, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Tess Gerritsen, Brenda Novak, Yasmine Galenorn, Cathy Maxwell, Jackie Mitchard, and many more!

Includes a CD with 4 meditations just for writers!

“More than a fascinating tutorial on how to tap your subconscious, Kelly L. Stone’s THINKING WRITE is a tool every creative person needs for finding answers to difficult problems and offers anyone a way to mine creative information hidden inside the mind. She proves the subconscious can be tapped for brainstorming answers to creative problems.” -—Dianna Love, New York Times Bestselling author

“Practical, thought-provoking, and easy to use, Kelly L. Stone’s THINKING WRITE gives any writer the tools they need to unleash their creativity. If you want to write but have been feeling blocked, this is the book for you!” -—CJ Lyons, national bestselling author

“Kelly L. Stone has written a lively owner’s manual for the aspiring writer’s mind. THINKING WRITE teaches writers how to use the best free tool they’ve got—not the pen, but the mind. THINKING WRITE shows you how to master your mind.” -—Stephanie Losee, freelance writer and author

“Kelly L. Stone has tapped into the deep well of creative wisdom in her new book, THINKING WRITE. Brimming with gems of inspiration and practical guidance, she brings this mysterious process into the hands of anyone willing to follow her thoughtful, clear and wise counsel. I highly recommend this book for all who seek to improve not only their writing, but the quality of their life.”-—Dr. Michael Brant DeMaria, psychologist, award winning composer, author and speaker"

"I can SO endorse Kelly's books - they are amazing and need to be on every writer's bookshelf for when we struggle with being a writer and creativity! "--Mary Buckham, 2007 Winner Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence

Now on Pre-Sale at Amazon: