If you are a writer, it’s likely that you are also incredibly creative. In being creative, you possess the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, and the like, in order to create something innovative and unique. You are probably original in your thinking and can generate meaningful, new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations out of seemingly nothing and/or nowhere. After all, creativity, by definition, is the synthesis of originality, progressiveness, and imagination.
Additionally, as a creative writer, it’s also likely that you experience gut instincts that flow from your fingers and onto the page. During these intuitive hits, I’m pretty sure you’ve sensed an inner knowing that you should write certain plotlines, give your characters specific attributes, and allow those characters to make various decisions. According to scientist and author Scott Barry Kaufman, creative people are more intuitive; they make decisions based on feelings—on their intuition. In theory, intuition relates to one’s inner compass, an inner voice, or a gentle nudging from somewhere or something unknown and unseen. Furthermore, the word intuition means “inner tutor,” and many believe it’s a muscle that requires exercise and movement in order to foster peak performance.
I believe there is a direct intersection between intuition and creativity.
Many writers, including me, often experience a creative knowing, an intuitive hit that sparks an idea, introduces them to a new project, and/or guides them through an existing one. Since I was a little girl, for example, I have had the ability to “see” a project I want to create in its complete state. A finished piece of artwork, a complete graphic design, or the image of a character for a new story will simply appear in my thoughts. That’s the easiest way of explaining what happens: a snapshot of the finished product appears out of nowhere and after little to no time spent pondering the idea. Once this happens, I start making notes, gathering resources, and drafting a plan. Other times, creative projects and new characters will emerge in my dreams, and I wake up knowing I must create the images I saw. When this happens, I’m always excited about mapping a road to the finished project. That’s the fun part: figuring out how to translate the image in my mind into something tangible.
The concept of the mind’s intuitive eye forming art and stories for the hands to figure out how to bring to fruition is where I believe intuition and creativity intersect.
Whenever I’m in the planning phase of novel-writing, my initial ideas that materialize are characters. Stepping forward one by one, I see their faces first, and then the scene unfolds around them, their bodies in motion, walking, standing, sitting, and/or interacting with other characters. Until I uncover the role they play in their story, these muses seem to haunt me. They stay with me, rattling about, poking me, and pleading with me to give them a home. Pinkie Perideaux, a major character in my fiction series The Scars We Choose, is a perfect example; Ms. Pinkie came to me while I was walking at the park, and she wouldn’t let up until I had written a book series around her.
Intuitive storytelling is certainly not unique to only me. Many writers have reported their stories appearing to them in either visions or dreams, and then waking from the experience knowing they had to write the people they saw as characters. Dracula first came to Bram Stoker in a dream. On March 8, 1890, Stoker noted in his journal that he experienced a nightmare during which three women descended upon a young man to kiss him “not on the lips but throat.” Six days later, after a second dream, Stoker wrote that a Count appeared, turning the women away. “This man belongs to me,” the Count declared, becoming one of the most iconic quotes from the wildly successful novel, Dracula.
Speaking of vampires, Stephenie Meyer reported that her idea for Twilight came to her in a dream. In an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009, the author said, “[The dream] was two people in kind of a little circular meadow with really bright sunlight, and one of them was a beautiful, sparkly boy and one was just a girl who was human and normal, and they were having this conversation. The boy was a vampire, which is so bizarre that I’d be dreaming about vampires, and he was trying to explain to her how much he cared about her and yet at the same time how much he wanted to kill her.”
On a cross-country trip with his family in 1991, Stephen King drove through a small town in Nevada, which he said looked like a ghost town. His next thought was that everyone in the town was dead. In his daydreaming, he reported wondering who killed all the people, when what he referred to as his “inner voice” answered, “The sheriff killed them all.” That experience led King to penning his novel Desperation.
After more than three decades of writing, and even longer creating art, I’ve worked diligently at training my intuition. As such, my tool of choice for sharpening my inner tutor is tarot cards. The tarot is an insightful tool, and the cards can be used for more than just fortunetelling by folks with psychic gifts. Anyone can use them and find inspiration. But why tarot cards? What are they? And are they really as bad as some people have made them out to be? Stay tuned to future blog posts, as I will answer all those questions and more in the coming weeks.
What is your experience with the tarot? Have you ever used the cards to inspire your writing? What about in other ways? I hope this blog post and future Intuitive Storyteller articles inspire your creative endeavors.
1. Definition of creativity. (n.d.). In www.dictionary.com. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/creativity
2. Kaufman, S. B. (2015, September 9). Creative People Are. . . Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved October 16, 2022, from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/creative-people-are/
3. Definition and etymology of intuition. (n.d.). Etymonline. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.etymonline.com/word/intuition
4. Stoker, B., A-E, A., & Berghorn, R. (2022, March 22). Powers of Darkness: The Unique Version of Dracula. Timaios Press.
5. Interview with Stephenie Meyer. (2009, November 13). [Television]. The Oprah Winfrey Show. Harpo Productions.
6. Colyard, K. W. (2016, October 6). Where Does Stephen King Get His Ideas? Here Are The Creepy Origins Of 10 Terrifying Tales. Bustle.
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of literary, Southern Gothic, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative®, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. She holds a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, and she has worked as an instructional designer for nearly twenty years.
When she’s not writing fiction, Mandy enjoys the movies, theater, music, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, and binging The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to enhance creativity and foster wellness. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four sons, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.