Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Writer's Hypnosis

When I write, I believe I hypnotize myself. Not in the Gilligan's Island kind of way. I'm not talking about a swaying watch and "You are getting very sleepy."

Psychologists and psychiatrists believe hypnosis is actually a very deep form of relaxation. Think daydream. It happens most often while we're driving -- ever arrive somewhere and not really remember driving there? Hypnosis experts would tell you that you were in a state of heightened relaxation called hypnosis.

Self-hypnosis can also occur when we read, use a computer, or watch a movie. The only requirement for hypnosis is the falling away of reality. One becomes so engrossed in the activity that reality drops away and the daydream, in some sense, replaces reality. Your surroundings cease to exist. Hint: It's not pitch black in a movie theater just so you can see the screen better.

That also means that the jolt back into reality can be extremely frustrating. I think the feeling is comparable to that sudden involuntary jerk that nearly everyone has experienced at one time or another just as they were falling asleep. And it can come from anywhere. A cell phone, an email notice, a knock at the door, or the calling of your name from another room.

Once I'm in self-hypnosis, the smallest noise or even voice causes me to jump nine feet in the air. Settling back into a "writing frame of mind" afterwards is, sometimes, nearly impossible.

Writer's hypnosis, I believe, is a good thing, and I believe in it. I think I write best when I'm hypnotized. It also may explain why it's so difficult for many of us to get started each session. If good writing truly requires a state of hypnosis, a lot of things have to line up perfectly before our brains can detach from reality.

Have you ever experienced writer's hypnosis? Do you think it's real?

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