Blog Tour! Authors share their intuitive writing process


Clare Johnson Healing Collage small

Recently I was invited by my friend Sheila Asato, award-winning artist and dreamworker, to join this Blog Tour of authors who write about intuitive understanding. Above I’ve shared a photo of a ‘healing collage’ I created following Sheila’s acclaimed technique.

I still have the notes from the Healing Collage workshop I attended ten years ago, which Sheila led with gentleness and wisdom. It was an intuitive, playful process where we rapidly stuck bits of cut-out magazines onto a sheet of paper… and then the deep play began as we looked at our dreamlike collages and asked ourselves questions about our lives. When I look at what I wrote back then, it’s amazing how much my younger self knew about my future self. Re-reading it I see how closely I’ve stuck to my life goals of working with my dreams, intuition and creativity to help others. Sheila’s workshop was illuminating, and she continues to share her strong gifts of healing and creativity as she writes her first book. Check out her website to discover more about her wonderful work.

For this blog tour I was asked to answer four questions about my writing process:

What am I working on now? 

I’m writing a book on lucid dreaming, born out of my PhD research and decades of lucid dream experience. It’s a big project! It’s funny – as a novelist, I thought writing nonfiction might be less creative in a way, since it doesn’t flow purely from the imagination. I also wondered if my dreams would help me to write this book the way they helped me write my novels.

Of course, if you write a book about lucid dreams, you’re dealing directly with your deepest intuitive mind every time you sit down to write! It’s been wonderful to realise that non-fiction writing is also a highly creative art, and my nightly dreams have been giving me clear direction about where to go with this book: one night I dreamed of doing spontaneous energy work with other IASD dream-friends and then hugging everyone in turn. This dream felt very supportive of my idea of bringing the voices of my talented dream friends and colleagues into my book.

Aside from writing my lucid dream book, I’m also mentoring people who need help with lucid dreams and creativity, which is very rewarding. I teach regular creativity courses which combine yoga, artwork, psychological dreamwork and creative writing. And I’m moving towards a project on children’s dreams; this is an unhatched egg and I’m watching over it closely to see what form it’ll take.

How does my writing process work? 

My writing process involves listening and looking. I listen to my dreams and the threads of ideas that come up as I go about my day. And I look out for synchronicities, moments of beauty, symbols. These are all around us all the time; it’s just a question of noticing.

During my doctoral work, which was the first to explore the connection between lucid dreaming and creativity, I worked closely with the writer’s trance and developed my transformative Lucid Writing technique. This involves focusing on dream imagery in a relaxed, receptive state with eyes closed, and watching or internally guiding as the imagery moves and transforms. Then you take a pen and write without stopping and without thinking – just describe what you see in your mind’s eye and follow any associations or memories that come up. It’s like a waking version of lucid dreaming and it can lead to profound insights and creativity, as well as healing recurrent nightmares.

While I was writing my novel Breathing in Colour, I drew on my lucid dreams and Lucid Writing to help me develop whole vibrant, dreamlike scenes and create new plot twists. It’s a deeply intuitive process and an absolute pleasure to use as it’s so effortlessly creative! Anyone can do it. If we dip into our unconscious mind while in a light trance, we keep that connection with unconscious imagery going, and it flows out onto the blank page.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?  

My Lucid Writing technique creates a new style of writing – my novel-writing style has been described as cinematic, dreamlike, and raw. This must be because it emerges directly from my dreaming mind. When I was writing Dreamrunner, I kept dreaming of dolphins. In one lucid dream I actually turned into a dolphin and leapt through sparkling waves. At first I had no idea why dolphins kept coming up, but quickly I saw that the little boy in Dreamrunner needed a power animal to help him through the crisis his family was in. This power animal would give him strength… but it would ultimately lead him to great danger. As I wrote the scenes, I saw how the dolphin imagery supported the plot of the novel and increased the dramatic tension in the final part of the book.

If we pay attention to our nightly dreams, they respond like a flower responds to water, and we’ll never (really – never!) be at a loss for creative ideas again. It’s that simple – on the level of artistic creativity, dreams show us time and again where to go, and present us with rich, timeless imagery that we can weave into our creative work. I love sharing my Lucid Writing technique and hearing people’s reactions. Two German women came up alight with excitement at the end of a session and thanked me effusively, exclaiming how ‘I’ had freed their blocked creativity. When I said it wasn’t down to me, they laughed and said, ‘We know, it’s our unconscious!’

If we let our unconscious work for us, writing becomes as natural as breathing.

Why do I write what I do? 

I write from the heart, and I write from my dreams. What emerges, emerges – I’m not a big planner, I tend to intuitively respond to what comes up, and weave it into my stories and non-fiction. This organic writing process is one that works well for me personally, but I know it’s not for everyone – some need the security of knowing exactly what comes next, and to an extent I do have a rough idea of how a book is going to go, but I’m open to change – often the most magical things happen if you allow dreams into the mix.

Writing this book on lucid dreaming is something that feels a natural part of my life path – since my first flash of lucidity in a nightmare when I was three, my experiences with dreaming lucidly and exploring the immense possibilities of the dream state have marked my life and transformed me on many levels. I’d like to help others to help themselves to wake up – both in dreams and in life.

Thank you for reading about my intuitive writing process. If you’d like to hear more, here’s an audio interview, and here’s a video where I discuss practical ways of dealing with lucid nightmares. My novels (which I write as Clare Jay) are available on Amazon: Breathing in Colour and Dreamrunner. I’ve recently entered the world of social media (under my real name, Dr Clare Johnson), so do come and join me on Twitter where I tweet about lucid dreaming @LucidClare. I’m also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

I’m delighted to introduce the well-known conscious writing coach and intuitive mentor Julia McCutchen as the next writer on this Blog Tour. Julia is all about intuitive writing, so it was easy to hand this over to her. Founder and creative director of the International Association of Conscious & Creative Writers (IACCW),  Julia interviewed me a few months back on ‘Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Writing: Creative Tools for Conscious Writers.’ Author of The Writer’s Journey: From Inspiration to Publication, Julia is an inspiring, creative woman and her new book, Conscious Writing, is forthcoming! Do check out her blog post next week on

4 Responses to “Blog Tour! Authors share their intuitive writing process”

  1. Sheila Asato, August 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Wonderful blog post Clare. You have described the dream infused creative process so well. This is exactly how I work as an artist and fledgling author. It was a delight to read!

  2. Clare Jay, August 4, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks Sheila! 🙂
    Clare x

  3. Julia McCutchen, August 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your post Clare. It is wonderful to see how dreams have inspired so many facets of your writing and are clearly continuing to do so!

    Thank you for sharing all of that with us and for nominating me as the next writer on the blog tour. I’m looking forward to reading your non-fiction book when it’s published 🙂


  4. Sinara, December 3, 2015 at 9:21 am

    here is some info i found on wikipedia about lucid dearming. I hope you don’t mind if I post it here.A lucid dream, in simplest terms, is a dream in which one is aware that one is dearming. The term was coined by the Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederik van Eeden (1860–1932).A lucid dream can begin in one of two ways. A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually concludes it is a dream, while a wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) occurs when the dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state, with no apparent lapse in consciousness.Lucid dearming has been researched scientifically, and its existence is well established.Scientists such as Allan Hobson, with his neurophysiological approach to dream research, have helped to push the understanding of lucid dearming into a less speculative realm.

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