HOW TO ENTER YOUR WRITER’S SOUL, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

What the heck is a writer’s soul?

Just my way of trying to describe the creative place where ideas and passion are first conceived.

Lately, I’ve been hooked on country music, the kind of stuff where lost love and dreams of the past, tear away at the walls that keep the forgotten 16-year-old locked away from our conscious minds. Remember your 1st love? Your 1st fight? Your 1st best friend? The troubled, idealistic Holden Caulfield trying to make the world a more honest place?

Back then we didn’t know or care about Republicans and Democrats, gun control or Gay Rights. We cared about love, friendship, and finding a way to make sense out of this huge, crazy world. We dreamed of a vague future, of glory on the ball field, of getting Betty or Robert to notice us and to reciprocate our love.

The pathway into the past, hidden by the layers of logic that come with adulthood, can be breached by just letting our mind wander to wherever it wants to go. That’s not so easy when the realities of making ends meet, raising kids, a job and working out marital issues are so right in our faces.

One way to start the journey inward is to really listen to music — country, jazz, oldies, classical, whatever — to allow it to carry you into the past or present or future — the same way just a tiny glance from the girl of your dreams would send you spinning for days at a time.

Another access to the past is through the sense of smell, the most primitive part of our brain. The scents of Thanksgiving with grandma, baking chocolate brownies with mom, even an odor that makes you cringe with disgust can send you spinning to a long forgotten place.

All our senses — sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste can do it. Leave the world of paying bills and fighting traffic and take a trip back to your past. That’s where the writer’s soul exists.

Don’t forget to follow Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist.

9 thoughts on “HOW TO ENTER YOUR WRITER’S SOUL, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

  1. The journey away from our young selves is so incremental
    that we can lose track of how far we’ve gone. Music is indeed a
    great bridge. Diaries, too. When I wrote a novel about tight clique
    of high school friends, the diaries I kept as a kid (and somehow
    held onto) were a wonderful aid in recapturing a time when, as you
    say, our priorities and concerns were so different. Helpful post,


    1. I recently read an extract of a woman’s diary from when she had been a teen. It included details of school and boys then, right at the end, it said ‘Man landed on moon.’ That was all. She had posted it in a newspaper to point out the change in priorities 🙂


  2. I find my writer’s soul just about anywhere. What opens the door to my creative mind is by going for a quiet walk. To me, going for a walk is a form of unloading the clutter in my head. It allows e to be in my own world. Photography is another source of ideas. I can easily form stories from the images I capture with my camera. And yes, music! It also stimulates the soul.


  3. I’d like a scosh of that writer’s soul. Actually, I’d like to let my mind drift into its own devises from a smell, a sound, an unexpected sight, a mantra. Mine is a fear of letting go, I think. That is, the instant I’m not in control of my mentality, my conscious processes, a warning flag goes up and I go to familiar and plebeian PP&J thinking.


  4. I’d never get anything done! People with writer’s souls are the ones who suddenly stop in the street because a smell or sound has triggered something… I do it all the time. I once wrote a short story with one song on repeat on the cd player. And now you’ve mentioned it… I may have to do it again!


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