As I continue my blogging experience, an obvious application of an old, probably very very old, method has occurred to me.
I’ve been experimenting with a new blogging habit: creative fermentation. In other words, the practice of purposely delaying the publication of a creative work to allow your unconscious mind to work on it “in the background.” It’s worth mentioning that many people refer to this as the “subconscious” mind, but as people who study psychology know, “unconscious” is a more accurate term.
Sleep on It
Consider the idea of “sleeping on it.” People sleep on things to give themselves a new perspective on an idea or decision; and since a creative project is actually a complex idea, it works for creative projects as well. Sleeping on something allows your unconscious mind to work on an idea in the background (like a background process on your computer). Yet this process is far more powerful than a computer’s background process because the unconscious mind is a master of information synthesis and works in far more intuitive ways than the conscious mind. An article published by NewScientist.com illustrates this point by highlighting the power of the unconscious mind to make decisions when a decision is complex and filled with unpredictable variables.
When you allow your unconscious mind to look over an idea or decision, your unconscious mind will approach an idea from new angles and provide insight, provided that you aren’t thinking about the issue consciously. This is a key point: this process will not work if you’re consciously thinking about the decision or idea.
I’ve found that one of the best ways to activate the unconscious mind is to simply sleep. As an added benefit, sleeping provides access to the dreamstate which uses different brain frequencies than normal waking consciousness does, and this further fuels the creative capability of the unconscious mind.
5 Easy Steps
From a practical standpoint, you only need to take the following steps:
- Do whatever you have to to stop thinking about the thought.
(Journaling about it or even quickly jotting down the thoughts swirling in your mind will help.)
- Decide that you want a new perspective on this thought and wait until night. (or afternoon nap time)
- Sleep in a quiet place and long enough to meet your sleep needs.
(this will vary from person to person but 6-8 hours is the sweet spot in my experience)
- Wake up, breathe deeply, and go through your morning routine.
(Jog, Breakfast, etc.)
- Review your decision or idea and you will view it with a renewed sense of perspective.
A Simple Essential Tool
While this may seem brain-dead simple, following these 5 steps can dramatically improve the quality of your perspective towards a decision or idea. The reason why this works is very simple. When your conscious mind releases the thought for a time, the unconscious mind is able to figuratively “look over it” while your conscious mind isn’t looking. Then, when your conscious mind returns to the thought, it receives any insight and clarity that the unconscious mind was able to provide. This kind of cooperation between the conscious and unconscious mind can become an essential tool once you begin to realize how to help the two minds work together.
I encourage you to try it. If you’re having trouble reaching a renewed sense of perspective and clarity, I recommend journaling about it or “talking it out” with someone you trust. If that sounds like obvious common sense, maybe that’s because it is. As for me, I plan to give creative fermentation time to every article from now on. With the power of my unconscious mind at work, who knows what crazy ideas I might be able to refine for public consumption. 😉