I’m pleased to be interviewing Diane Brandon today. Diane is an Integrative Intuitive Counselor who helps others access their own intuitive information. I wondered how we, as mystery writers or simply as writers, might use this in our everyday writing lives and in our stories.
Carolyn: Diane, thanks for being here today. To start, can you tell us what an Integrative Intuitive Counselor is? And what exactly is intuition?
Diane: Basically I use my intuition to help others in their lives, especially in finding more fulfillment and providing insight for problems and decision-making, such as in career, relationships, children, life path, etc. “Integrative” because I bring other modalities in, such as individualized guided meditation, dream work, regression, healing modalities, customized exercises, etc.
I define intuition as: the accessing of information through means other than our customary logical mode — our intellect — or our five recognized senses. It’s a way of knowing things without going through the intellect or the obviously tangible or normally experienced.
I use a broad definition because intuition comes in many different forms, speaks to different people differently, and presents itself in a myriad of ways. It’s really a broad set of phenomena that we put the one word, “intuition,” on. (I’ve created a conceptual model of intuition that’s fairly complex, so time wouldn’t allow us to get into it here.)
Carolyn: As writers, a lot of us experience a zone or a flow or a sense of being lost in our characters or their lives when we write – how is that different from intuition?
Diane: It’s not exactly the same thing as intuition, but both probably spring from similar states of consciousness. In fact, there’s a strong link between creativity and intuitive ability. To me, creativity gives us ideas and information on that which doesn’t exist in our three-dimensional reality – at least not yet, whereas intuition gives us information about existing things and facts or the future.
That said, the “zone” is like an alpha state of consciousness, which is also conducive to intuition, although intuition requires controlling it. And you can learn how to groom that state of consciousness and work with it.
We can also learn how to work with our unconscious, which I refer to as our “Inner Administrative Assistant,” by giving it assignments and problems to sort out, including creative ones. It’s a matter of giving it assignments and knowing how to harvest its output once it’s completed them.
Carolyn: How can we integrate more intuition or intuitive practices into our writing?
Diane: The first step would be to set the stage for intuition and to begin to groom it. I would say that we want to become as agile mentally as we can, so that we can call up the right state of consciousness at the appropriate time for different types of mental or creative tasks.
Learning to meditate can really help with this, as can reducing stress and learning how to work with our Inner Administrative Assistant. Stress can really kill the creative process. Learning how to guide yourself through a guided meditation to get specific information can be quite useful when you’re working on specific aspects of writing. Working with your dreams and reaping their creative material and insights can also be applicable to writing. We can get a lot of useful creative material through our dreams, and, in fact, many writers and other artists have received inspiration for their works through their dreams, such as Mary Shelley, Handel, Wagner, etc.
Certainly learning how to tune in to receive intuitive information on demand – which is the method I use and teach – can help with writing – not just for producing ideas, but also for tying out different possible scenarios and plot twists to see which might yield the most optimum results. Many people don’t realize that intuition can be used for more than just getting garden-variety information. We can use it for problem-solving and trying out different options. I’ve designed some specific exercises for this and, once you become adept at using your intuition, you can craft new exercises yourself for a range of types of questions and material.
My book, Intuition for Beginners – Easy Ways to Awaken Your Natural Abilities,” would be a great place to start to understand and begin to develop your intuition. One reviewer likened it to a textbook. It covers the ins and outs of intuition and also has exercises in it. I also teach this skill in group settings and one-on-one.
Carolyn: Our blog is directed at mystery writers, so I wondered if there were specific characteristics that might be helpful for our characters – something that relates to intuition. Any thoughts on what might be helpful that we don’t normally think of when we are writing – or if you read mysteries, what you don’t see a lot of that we might use?
Diane: Certainly! You can use your intuition in developing characters and actually “speaking” to them and “listening” to their suggestions, as well as in fleshing out their personalities and predilections (or pecadillos).
Carolyn: I think what you are talking about is something that I know some writers do which is interviewing their characters.
Diane: Yes, whether you talk about interview or speaking to, you’re talking about a two way conversation. You could also use your intuition to see how they relate to other characters and whether any new ideas or interesting interpersonal complications pop up. You could also try out various plot twist options with your intuition. And pay attention to your dreams for any creative/intuitive information that you’re given in them. Also pay attention to what goes through your mind when you’re doing fairly rote or routine activities for any insights that might be burbling up.
Carolyn: I know you are also working on a new book called “Dream Interpretation for Beginners – Understand the Wisdom of Your Sleeping Mind.” Any pre-publication thoughts on the book and how as writers we can use some of the information you will provide.
Diane: “Dream Interpretation for Beginners” is slated to be released in March of 2015. But I’ll share a couple of little things you can do in advance. One thing you can do if you are working on a story or trying to figure out something in connection with your writing, you can incubate dreams. And what that means is you try to produce a dream that gives you information or an answer. You do this by telling yourself, before you go to sleep, that you want to have a dream about your concern – a particular character or how you should approach a particular plot element. You have to really want to do that in order to produce a dream. Another way of doing this while you are awake is to give your Inner Administrative Assistant that I mentioned above, an assignment. Again you have to really want it and then you give it time to give you the answer. The answer usually comes while you are doing something routine and you are in an Alpha brainwave state such as jogging or brushing your teeth.
Another technique is to keep a dream journal of significant dreams. While we may be good at dream interpretation, we often don’t know the meaning for weeks or months later. So being able to go back and review what you wrote about your dream is helpful. And if you are interested in my book, it can also provide you material you could work with when reading the book. That way you’ll have some material already for when that book comes out.
Carolyn: Thanks for being here today. Diane’s book “Intuition for Beginners: Easy Ways to Awaken your Natural Abilities” was published in 2013. For those interested in more information about her book or Diane’s practice, her book is available through her website at www.dianebrandon.com.