More Creativity Snapshots

January 30th, 2008

Today was spent finishing up last touches on work that I'll take up to Nahcotta at the end of the week. You can see two of the latest pieces in process above. I've got some other ones in progress too, but I'm going to put them up at the coffee shop where I'll be hanging art at the end of February.

I was going to write about my inspiration board for Wellness Wednesday today, but my pictures came out too dark. So, I'm going to wait and get some daylight shots of it. Last Wednesday, the hubster said to me, "Isn't it Wellness Wednesday or something?" Haha, too funny. That cracked me up.

Yesterday was spent working on my book about creativity. As the Creative Every Day challenge has been developing, it has been giving me all kinds of ideas, which shifts around the direction of the book. I recently picked up Eric Maisel's The Art of the Book Proposal which has been helpful in getting me to think about the focus and framework of the book.

Ideas, the wording of a sentence for example, often come to me soon after I turn off the light and put my head to the pillow. Fortunately, I have a collection of pens, sticky notes and a blank journal, so I can pop up, turn on the light and scribble out my ideas. I'm always glad I write it or draw a little sketch because most of the time I won't be able to remember exactly what came in a flash right before I fell asleep the night before. I didn't realize this time between sleep and wakefulness had a name until recently. I was listening to NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and their guest for the game "Not My Job" was James Lipton of "Inside the Actor's Studio." The hosts kind of made fun of his use of the word in the first chapter of his book, Inside Inside, but I thought it was really cool! The term used for this in between time is called "the hypnagogic state." Lipton suggested that creative artists, musicians, and writers were familiar with this "dream-like and sometimes fruitful state between wakefulness and sleep." Is everyone aware of this state? Does everyone experience it? I think the hubster, who is a musician and very creative, may fall asleep far too quickly to have any ideas come. But maybe he experiences that state when he wakes (between sleep and waking, it's called the hypnopompic state.) I'll have to ask him.

So, I'll make that my Wellness Wednesday tip for this week. Pay attention and see if ideas, answers to questions, or art compositions come to you in this hypnagogic state. And be sure to have some paper and writing tools tools by your bedside. If you can't turn on the light in the middle of the night, try keeping a flashlight or booklight that you can use without disturbing your bedmate. Or just write in the dark, which I do sometimes. :-)

That's it for tonight. See you tomorrow. And happy creating!

11 Responses

I never remember what I was thinking right before I fall asleep,it’s really strange, but I do seem to have great ideas if I write first thing in the morning or even if I remember my dream.


I came across your blog and feel in love with it. A great read and so much to look at. I would love to join. I am going to add the button now.


my hypnopompic state ROCKS … i always think of stuff while i’m trying to rouse myself out of bed! …. never knew it had a name …..thanks!!

the hypnagogic state? hmmm, i think that actually has happened to me a few times. A long time ago though……pre-baby. Now I’m too tired to have that!!

Oh yes, I adore the hypnagogic state! I also get it just when I am waking up. To me, these are the best times…just when you are falling asleep and just as you are waking up! So much going on then. Thanks for reminding me.

this is good advice, thank you. and of course, i’ll wait with anticipation for a glimpse of your inspiration board. as always, i love to see your workspace and work in progress. xo

I love the new piece in the Subway Series! I love them crowded near the doors. So beautiful!

Thanks for sharing the official names of these stages, I had no idea. I get more ideas between the wake and sleeping than the sleeping to waking. I too often wake up to an alarm clock that really messes with the between stages. Also, I think more ideas come to me when i first get into bed because I will go back threw my day to process stuff. Sometimes an idea will hit me because the project has been in the back of my mind all day.

I always just called it “twilight sleep” and yes I know my best ideas come – usually in the a.m. for me, so I pay attention. BTW I love that moon and woman in the background of your pictures…and oh, more subway series. Sigh. I wish I could buy them all. My daughter is very taken with them! Unusual for her to notice art, but they stopped her dead in her tracks (and it has nothing to do with mine being in the foyer).(really). They’re so different!

hmmm – did that last note post? i don’t see it (gist: love the moon girl in the background..wish I could buy all your subway series).

hypnagogic? never knew it had a name, but i am clearly a camper in that spot! i need to do a better job of writing things down from that state. thanks for the reminder :-)

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