Whilewe're talking about creative visualization, there's another way to use it. Every night before I go to sleep, I thinkabout the happy outcomes I want from my writing. Like the tennis player who mentally reviewsplaying a stellar game, I see myself writing in a red-hot blaze of inspiration. I see myself typing “The End.” I see myself sending off my completedmanuscript to my editor. I also seemyself winning a Rita or seeing my name on the New York Times Best SellerList. Maybe such visualization actuallycauses good things to manifest (a more woo-woo viewpoint), or maybe such pleasantdaydreams serve to keep me motivated. Either way, they are helpful to me. (And, what the hay, I'm a double Rita finalist this year. Maybe all that visualization I've been doing all these years is finally coming to something! LOL)

TodayI also want to touch on insomnia, which is a pervasive problem that is often linked to stress. Stress can lead to sleep problems, and sleepdisturbance can contribute to stress. It's unfortunately a problem many writers face.>>

Sometimeswhen a new story is percolating, I CANNOT get to sleep because I'm busyplotting it out, visualizing, coming up with dialogue, playing scenes in myhead. I don't think there's a writer inthe world who hasn't had this problem at least occasionally.>>

Unfortunately,I know a lot of writers who take sleeping aids, which often have unpleasant side-effects. But I have a few suggestions that might work.>>

Getup and write it out. Sometimes, if yourcharacters are arguing in your head, if you get up and write out the argument,you can put it to rest enough that you can get to sleep. If you really don't want to do that, trykeeping a small audio recorder by your bed. Talk through the dialogue quickly into the recorder so you don't loseit. That might allow you to let it goand sleep.>>

Or,you might try the afore-mentioned deep breathing, stretching, and visualizingpeaceful scenes, which can sometimes help you escape your story enough that you canfall asleep. Or listen to one of theguided imagery recordings on the market. I find these recordings so completely effective that I often drop off in the first three minutes and don't remember anything. I don't think I have once discovered what happens at the end of the imaginary trip.

Another method of falling asleep is to listen to white noise, like ocean waves or rain or a babbling brook. I have an Android app for that (Sleepy Time).>>

Monday,we'll talk about the writer's creative high.>>