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Sleep Writing, the creativity technique that will let you sleep

06 / 25 / 2019

We have already mentioned several creativity techniques in this journal that have been conceived to help you solve a problem or to overcome a creative block. 

The one we present today is fairly special because it is carried out… while sleeping. But, regardless of how easy and appealing this technique may appear, you need to prepare yourself for it to work.

The first thing to do late in the afternoon is to mentally go over and embrace the problem or the solution you are searching for and cannot find. If you are working on a project with a group, it is convenient to hold a session to discuss the problem. In this way your brain will start to interiorise the difficulties you are facing.

Then, prepare a light dinner and go to bed, but don’t forget to leave a notepad and a pencil on your nightstand. It is said that while we sleep and dream or when we are half asleep, but still perceive reality, the subconscious appears more clearly as the blocks that affect the conscious disappear.

 

When you wake up –in the middle of the night or the next morning– you need to rapidly note down any idea that comes to your mind or that you have dreamt. Once you are fully awake and have had your first coffee, it is time to recover those notes and see where they lead you and if you can come up with any solution to the problem. We don’t always remember what we have dreamt, that’s true, but don’t give up hope. Try again. As with any other technique, this one needs to be practiced.

This is an old method used by different artists and creative professionals in their creation processes. One of the most famous examples is Salvador Dalí who, during the day, sat down on a comfortable armchair while holding a small spoon or any other metallic object in his hand, so that as soon as he fell asleep, he would let the object drop. The noise made by the small spoon would awake him and that is how he could take notes of the content of the subconscious before falling into a deeper sleep.

It won’t be necessary to reach the surrealistic limits of Dalí, but a little bit of subconscious won’t do us any harm when trying to overcome a creative block.