Mining the Mind
Written by
Glynis Rankin
February 2013
Written by
Glynis Rankin
February 2013

A few years ago I told my brother that I was writing a novel.

He looked at me strange and said, ” Don’t you need an imagination to become a writer.”

I was dumbstruck that he thought I wasn’t imaginative enough to write. Yet, I soon found out that he wasn’t the only one that thought that way. I was in my late forties when I openly acknowledge that I was a writer. Granted, I hadn’t written anything in my life. However, when I had the time to read my first novel in many years, over a weekend, yes I’m a slow reader, I got the bug.

I knew that all those times daydream while at work, during housework or watching TV, my mind had been on a journey of great imaginative adventures. I never forget those days, laying out on the lawn, watching the clouds go by, thinking of traveling, sailing or flying somewhere magical.

It has always been a part of who I was, and how it shaped my life.

I couldn’t understand how that gift of imagination was lost in so many people who I knew, or perhaps they simply left it behind, like they left their childhood. We all have this wonderful gift to envision a better world. As children, we used it daily to enhance our world, yet, somehow we neglected this wonderful present of God, as adults.

Every creative mind, through out our history, has used imagination to guide him/her toward their goals. It’s the foundation for any creativity in a variety of realms, but since I’m a writer, I will go down this path.

Scientists have discovered that when we solve problems with sudden insight, we direct our attention inwardly, though imagination. What they are saying is that rather than systematically focusing our attention outwardly at the problems, we instead dig deep into the brain to bring up options stored in unexpected places. I like to think of it this way, our mind has a treasure troll of imaginative stones, so to speak, in which to harvest. However, if we want the precious gems, we’ll have to dig deep.

After all, creative solutions, like precious gems, aren’t just laying on the surface, for easy access. We will have to do some digging.

Let’s look at the levels of Mind Mining.

First, is the prospecting of your mind. It’s the first and most important part of mining, it involves looking for signs of mineralization. What is this?

Well, it’s when you let your brain ruminate on its own, like absently daydreaming, vacant. Allow it to subconsciously search for ideas, open yourself up. What will come, perhaps, want be what normally comes to your conscious mind.

J.K. Rowling said about coming up with the story for Harry Potter, ” I was looking out the window at some cows, I believe and I just thought: ‘Boy doesn’t know he’s a wizard–goes off to wizard school’….I have no idea where it came from. I think the idea was floating along the train and looking for someone, and my mind was vacant enough, so it decided to zoom in there.”

During this stage, the prospector must make a claim on their findings.

Second, you will need to analysis the profit potential of your find. In other words, Sleep On It. Yes, that’s right, sleep. J.K. Rowling didn’t go immediately and write the story for Harry Potter, instead she let the imagined idea develop in her subconscious mind. She slept on what she found in her imagination until it was fully develop. A noted scientist was working on a solution to a problem, and for days he worked without sleep. Finally, worn out, he went to bed. At 3:00am in the morning, images came to him. He got right up, went to the lab to perform experiments on chemical transmission of nerve impulse, he’d envisioned. For his discovery, he earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936. His name was Otto Loewi, an Austrian neuroscientist.

So, Sleep On It.

Third, you will have to extract the desired materials.

There is nothing like the rush of inspiration that forms the foundation of a story, it’s what keeps us going as writers, and its our biggest downfall. We’re so excited with that inspiration, that story line, that we hold those gems in our hands tight. Forgetting that a closed fist, is a closed fist, never knowing if there is something wonderful inside or not. We are too excited for what we have, that we can’t see, blind to something better else where. We soon find that great starting point, has become that not-so-great ending.

We live in a world that value product over production, creation over creativity. So what do we do, we latch on to what we think will bring us the results we should have, instead considering what else lies just within our reach. Think, what else is out there, what more could be discovered? Keep an opened mind to the often unexpected and the possibilities, that make themselves plain only when we mine our most treasured ideas. The freshness of perspective that mining provides, is what allows our best gems to be discovered.

Mine your mind, daydream, imagine with no expectations, no intention. Jot down whatever comes to you, but resist the urge to act. Go for a walk, let you mind wonder, sleep on what you have, and being to enjoy your imagination without consequences, as you mine your creative gems. Begin to appreciate this process, this gift of creativity, as well as being a part of it.

What you’ll notice is that the more willing you are to letting your imagination play, the more imaginative you’ll become. And all those ideas, which you once thought were so fleeting and fickle will, with increasing frequency, come to gently rest in the palm of your open hand.

Copyright © 2013 Glynis Rankin

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