Writer’s magic is a phenomena writers and creative people report experiencing that has to do with working with the two sides of your psyche inherent in the creative process. The conscious and unconscious can be viewed as being similar to the thinking/planning function of the mind that it very important in the first and last stage and sometime manifests as what is called the Voice of Judgment, (the inner critic).
The unconscious is associated with inspiration and incubation, what I call the Voice of Wisdom, (the Magic Helper). You can do creative exercises to learn how to work with both side of the psyche in order to maximize our creative potential.
There is also a kind of mental ‘space’ in which the creative process thrives. Dorothea Brande says straight out in her book Becoming a writer, what she called “a sort of writer’s magic” which I believe emerges from focused concentration. She refers to it as something people stumble upon or set out to learn.
What we find is that this can emerge naturally from a state of concentration and focus which is like a light stage of hypnosis or a meditation state of sorts. When you get absorbed in the creative act, giving it your intense focus and attention, you start to engage a highly creative state. Some have called this the ‘writer’s trance’ when the material they write seems as if it is being channeled.
Many writer’s report that this is when the story seems to take over and the text begins to flow, taking on a life of its own almost like magic. Some writers say they feel like they are in altered state of mind. I recommend that before you begin your regular writing practice or even while preparing that you think about the story you are writing. Then close your eyes visualize it in your mind’s eye and listen to the meditation music and when it is over, open them and begin to write. This might serve as a ritual you do before you begin to write and help to bring this state on.
Having been a trained hypnotherapist and teacher of meditation, it is easy for me to connect this as what is called hypnagogia a term coined by Andreas Mavromatis who wrote extensively on it and describes is as the unique state of consciousness between waking and sleep. He noticed that creativity and creative products of artistic imagination tend to emerge from this and what can be called a ‘psychic twilight.’
This state is similar to a meditative state where you feel like you are in a light sleep but still somewhat aware. It is a kind of waking dream, but unlike a dream you are able to participate in it and to remember it. Another way many writers explain this state is when they feel so immersed in what they are doing that they lose awareness of themselves.
Research is showing how the unconscious process is a critical component to enhanced creativity.
When interviewed Neil Simon said “I don’t write consciously-it is as if the muse sits on my shoulder… I slip into a state that is apart from reality.” The Romantic poets were very in touch with this. Coleridge described writing a 300 line poem about Kubla Khan in a dreamlike state that he began writing down when he awoke. He said he was interrupted and lost much of it, so only a portion of the poem reflects that dream-state.
This is his way of describing which many writers have reported experiencing, writer’s magic. You can also learn how to access the state and also write when emerging from what has been called the hypnopompic state, the name of state that consciousness move through on the way back from sleep to being awake.
In conclusion, writer’s magic can happen in the space between sleeping and waking which we can learn to access. It’s something that you once knew how to do so easily in the play space as a child.