By day I am a high school teacher, filling young minds with Algebra, Geometry, and—this year—Psychology. After school hours I am a writer, pouring the inner workings of my mind into notebooks and Word documents. I have always taken great pains to keep those two sides of me very separate. I know of too many teachers who have been sanctioned or even fired for things they’ve posted online, activities they take part in on their own time. I’ve also read too many books that get self-righteous and preachy, as though the author (or narrator) knows more than the reader could ever hope to.
But this week, my two worlds collided.
In a pretty cool way.
My Psychology class just finished up a chapter on the brain, and we’re heading into one on consciousness. So I was sitting at my desk the other day with my lesson plan book on one side of me and the textbook on the other, when I ran across a very interesting factoid.
It seems that many scientists believe a person is most creative during the Twilight phase of sleep. No vampires or werewolves here, merely the relaxing period of time just before you drift off. It turns out that this is a wonderful time for problem solving, for understanding situations in an unusual way, for seeing things just a little differently than you did before.
How many times had I had a brilliant idea (for a lesson, a chapter in my WIP, a way to deal with my family) just before I faded into Dreamland? Ah, but how often had I forgotten my inspired solution by the next morning?
These scientists believe that, if you practice, you can actually train your brain to recall your ideas from the night before. You basically just concentrate on your thoughts as you’re falling asleep. The more times you try this, and the more serious you are about it, the better you’ll remember your Twilight creativity. The other option is to keep paper and pen beside your bed so you can jot things down before you slide into sleep. When you wake the next morning, you have a written record of your genius (or what passes for genius when you’re literally half asleep).
I’ve been having issues with a balky character who refuses to participate in his own romance, and I’ve been wandering around Twilight land with him for several days now. Tonight, though, I am going to re-read the old WIP then head to bed early. Perhaps if I’m a very good little author, his lordship will come ’round and explain himself. And if I’m a very, very good little teacher, I’ll be able to remember his revelations come morning and explain to my students how I did it. 🙂