Daily Writing Tip 21 of 100, Proceed From the Dream Outward

For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.

Today’s tip – Proceed From the Dream Outward

Source – The Novel of the Future, by Anaïs Nin

It is interesting to return to the original definition of a word we use too often and too carelessly. The definition of a dream is: ideas and images in the mind not under the command of reason. It is not necessarily an image or an idea that we have during sleep. It is merely an idea or image which escapes the control of reasoning or logical or rational mind. So that dream may include reverie, imagination, daydreaming, the visions and hallucinations under th influence of drugs – any experience which emerges from the realm of the subconscious. These various classifications are merely ways to describe different states or levels of consciousness. The important thing to learn, from art and from literature in particular, is the easy passageway and relationship between them. Neurosis makes a division and sets up defensive boundaries. But the writer can learn to walk easily between one realm and the other without fear, interrelate them, and ultimately fuse them.


For this the writer has to learn the passageways. Those passageways are like the locks of canals, feeding each other while controlling levels to prevent flooding. The discipline and form of an artist’s work are set in the same system to prevent flooding. The amateur drowns. The writer has to remain open, fluid, pursue and obey images which his conscious structure tends to break or erase.

This comes back to imagination and courage. Do you have the courage to let your imagination guide your work? Or is the inner editor always there, saying things like, “Nobody is going to understand this,” or “This isn’t what the paying public wants to read right now.” He will be there, saying those things – but you don’t have to listen.

The inner editor might be right… but he is still an asshole – and you shouldn’t listen to assholes.

The Music Was Breath And Food

“Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone’s very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.”
― Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

Courthouse Pickers Denton, Texas (click to enlarge)

Courthouse Pickers
Denton, Texas
(click to enlarge)

Photo taken turning the weekly Courthouse Pickers – bluegrass jam session every Saturday at the county courthouse, Denton, Texas