If you were to disregard all of the file folders, books and scribbled Post-It notes, one of the first things you'd notice about my office is my fondness for The Wizard of Oz. Along the walls and bookshelves are postcards of Dorothy and The Wicked Witch, a stuffed Scarecrow and a Cowardly Lion hand puppet. There's also an 18-inch rainbow on my desk. It's really a candleholder, a simple black ornamental bridge with small glass votives of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. To me it is a symbol of hope and inspiration, a reminder of how color became my muse.

The road to rainbows

Like many writers, there was a time when my words did not flow, flow, flow onto the paper, a time when I would have welcomed a pair of ruby slippers just so I could click myself three times out of the Writers Block Woods and into the Creative Light. Then one day I walked into a metaphysical shop and found my muse. There along one large, sunny window were over 100 square glass bottles, each containing two different-colored layers of liquid. They mesmerized me with their gem-like brilliance.

This was my introduction to Aura-Soma, an holistic therapy which uses the healing energies of colors, plants and crystals. Instinctively, I reached for "Gabriel", the blue-over-violet bottle. By applying the oily contents to my throat and temple, my communication abilities would be greatly improved, it was explained. What's this--a writer's miracle in a bottle? Intrigued, I brought "Gabriel" home and after only a few applications, I found myself enjoying what I can only describe as a creative high.

An ancient method

Now that I have spent many years researching the benefits of color, I'm not surprised "Gabriel" worked so well. “Color is a powerful tool,” author Lori Reid wrote in her book, Color Book: Use the healing powers of color to transform your life. “It acts on our bodies, minds, and emotions, triggering deep and subtle responses on a subconscious level.”

Within each of us are spinning wheels of energy called chakras which correspond to a specific color of the spectrum, as well as an emotional issue. Red (root chakra, located at the base of the spine) is used for energy, grounding and passion. Orange (sacral chakra, located two inches below the navel) promotes joy and sexuality. Yellow (solar plexus chakra, located below the breastbone) helps counteract depression and stimulates mental activity. Green (heart chakra, located at the center of the chest) represents compassion and healing. Blue (throat chakra, located at the throat) deals with peace, communication and artistic expression. Indigo (brow chakra, located at the third eye area, between the brows) activates intuition. Violet (crown chakra, located at the crown of the head) represents spirituality and inspiration.

Since ancient times, color has been used in physical, mental and emotional healing. It is said that Hippocrates applied his medicine in rooms painted in soothing colors and used different colored salves and ointments as treatment. In ancient Egypt, China and India, individuals were dipped in colored pigment or bathed in light that was filtered through colored-glass windows. Today color is introduced by using crystals and visualization, wearing a particular color clothing to absorb color physically, applying colored lights or oils to the skin, eating colored foods and drinking colored water. One can also receive different color vibrations through music.

Color your world

How would you describe green to your readers? Before you write, visualize your setting and try to see, feel and smell the green. Say you are writing a short story about a young girl living in an old country cottage in Ireland. Is the color of the grass and trees an emerald or Kelly green? Does the grass feel dry or wet? How do you convey the smell of the countryside? Is green an earthy, clean smell? Is it sweet and slightly minty or antiseptic-smelling like pine?

“Becoming aware of the effects of color means that we can make use of its positive benefits to lift our spirits, to unlock our creative imagination, to enhance our environment and to improve our image, our well-being, and our lives,” says Reid.

Did you know that if you write on a yellow note pad with blue ink, you can enhance both your communication and creative skills? Think about what you wish to communicate to your readers. Is it anger? Joy or pain?

Once you understand the excessive and deficient qualities associated with each color, you can write stories with more interesting, more believable characters. In her book, Color and Crystals: A Journey Through The Chakras, author Joy Gardner provides an excellent example of someone who has too much red energy:

“This wealthy perfectionist is the owner of a California restaurant chain. He rules his employees like a commanding general. He is nervous and chronically constipated. He owns three cars, which give him little satisfaction. He sleeps with many women, but it’s an empty experience.”

Gardner describes the rainbow colors and their related excessive energies as Red--greedy, egotistic, domineering, sexually indiscriminate; Orange--emotionally explosive, aggressive, manipulative, over-indulgent; Yellow--judgmental, workaholic, perfectionist, overly intellectual; Green--demanding, possessive, moody, melodramatic; Blue--arrogant, self-righteous, dogmatic, addictive; Indigo--egomaniac, proud, religiously dogmatic, authoritarian and Violet--psychotic, depressed, destructive.

An outstanding example of a red personality is the aptly named Scarlett O'Hara, the fiery heroine from Gone With The Wind. Talk about attention-getters!

Scarlett was stubborn and temperamental, a woman who demanded everything the world had to offer. Nothing could stop her from achieving her goals, not death and destruction nor the scorn and wagging tongues of the local citizens. If she had to steal her sister's beau, murder a Yankee or toil in the fields, well, so be it. She would not be defeated.

In the end, Scarlett had amassed great wealth and had rebuilt her beloved Tara, but she had suffered great losses as well. Her daughter was dead and her husband, Rhett Butler, clearly didn't give a damn and was heading out the door. But we just know that Scarlett got Rhett in the end. Why? Because she never, ever quit. She knew what she wanted and she would fight the devil himself to ensure that she got it. Scarlett O'Hara was the ultimate survivor. Surely, if she had had a personal mantra, it would have been: "It's all about me!"

A writer's meditation

Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting on a beautiful white sandy beach. The sun is directly overhead and its rays are brilliant and warm as they flow from the top of your head and throughout your body.

Let your toes feel the cool, Caribbean blue waters. See yourself staring out to sea, mesmerized by the dancing rhythm of the waves. Watch the seagulls fly above you, then see them dive into the sparkling water. You feel at peace here. After awhile, you notice a huge wave coming toward you but you are not afraid. The water comes close to your hand and when the wave is gone, you see it has left you a wondrous gift.

Glowing like jewels on the sand are seven different colors of seaglass. You pick up the red seaglass first and hold it in the palm of your hand. Stare into the seaglass and imagine you are becoming smaller and smaller until you are surrounded by the red seaglass. Feel the warmth and energy of the color red. Red is the first color of the rainbow. It is the color of passion and enthusiasm and survival. Red helps you obtain your material needs.

Now pick up the orange-colored seaglass. Orange is the second color of the rainbow. Look into the seaglass and become the color orange. Orange is a joyful color. With orange, you feel happy about your decision to become a writer and you will not allow anyone or anything to dampen your enthusiasm.

Now pick up the yellow-colored seaglass and feel the power of yellow surround you. Yellow is the third color of the rainbow. Yellow gives you better confidence in your writing abilities, no matter how many rejection slips or criticisms you receive.

Place the green-colored seaglass into your hand. Green is the fourth color of the rainbow. It is the color of harmony and balance and peace. When you are hurrying to meet deadlines for books and articles, visualize the color green and your balance will be restored.

Pick up the blue-colored seaglass and become the color blue. Blue is the fifth color of the rainbow and offers you creativity and communication. Blue helps you perceive the truth and to conquer writer's block.

Now pick up the indigo-colored seaglass. This is the sixth color of the rainbow. Indigo is the color of intuition, your inner voice that tells you to "go for it". You need to trust your intuition if you are to realize your potential and become a successful writer.

Now there is only one seaglass left to explore, the violet-colored one. Violet is the seventh color of the rainbow. It is the color of faith. No matter how difficult your life may get, faith never lets you give up on yourself. In your journey as a writer, remember the color violet and your abilities and opportunities will improve.

Now slowly open your eyes and when you are ready, take your favorite colored pen or pencil in hand and write a page in your personal color journal, knowing that the power of the seven colors of the rainbow has made you into a better and more creative writer.

Are you ready to do some rainbow writing? Try these exercises now:

1. Write about a red place, object or character. OR write a cover letter to an agent, describing why he/she should take you on as a client. What are your accomplishments? Why are you certain your book or article will sell?

2. Write about an orange place, object or character. OR write about the first time you knew you really wanted to become a writer. Then write how you felt when you received your first criticism or rejection letter. Were you angry? Sad? Suicidal? How did you resolve the situation?

3. Write about a yellow place, object or character. OR write a movie synopsis of your life. Is it a poignant drama, comedy or psychological thriller? Which actor portrays you? Would you give your life story a General, PG-13 or R rating?

4. Write about a green place, object or character. OR write a poem about a time when you really loved something or someone. How did you express your love? Was it returned or rejected?

5. Write about a blue place, object or character. OR interview yourself as if you are already a successful writer. What suggestions would you give to a beginning writer? How have you managed to keep your name at the top of the bestseller lists? How do you avoid writer’s block? Do you network with other writers?

6. Write about an indigo place, object or character. OR write a dialogue in which a small child is describing your present surroundings to an older blind person.

7. Write about a violet place, object or character. OR in first person, create a Cinderella-like fairytale where your greatest desire is to attend the most famous writers conference in the country. What are your adversities? How do you eventually get to the conference? Describe the general layout of the conference. Whom do you meet there? What questions do you ask your favorite author? What lessons do you learn? (Begin your story with “Once upon a time I was…”)

Creating a personal color journal

Once I was angry with a person whom I felt had treated me unfairly. Since I was already “seeing red”, I instinctively reached for a red pen and began to write passionately, wildly, about the injustice of it all. Had I been trying to “chill”, I would have grabbed my “cool blue” pen instead. But in this situation I needed to express my anger—to really feel the emotional power of it—and that is why I chose to “be” red for that journaling session.

As you’d might expect from someone with an Oz collection, one of my major philosophies in life is to have fun, so I suggest the more colorful you can make your journal, the better. Choose either a large spiral notebook in your favorite color or seven different notebooks to reflect each hue of the rainbow and its corresponding emotion. If you are feeling depressed on the day of your journal entry, you need to add more red, so you will write this entry in red because red is the antidote to blue.

To get you started, here are nine colorful journaling prompts:

1. On the top of each page, write and complete this sentence: “The color I feel today is _______________________ because…”

2. Describe how you generally feel about the color red (or orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo or violet) and why.

3. Using the color red, complete this affirmation: “Today I have…”

4. Using the color orange, complete this affirmation: “Today I feel…”

5. Using the color yellow, complete this affirmation: “Today I can…”

6. Using the color green, complete this affirmation: “Today I love…”

7. Using the color blue, complete this affirmation: “Today I speak…”

8. Using the color indigo, complete this affirmation: “Today I see…”

9. Using the color violet, complete this affirmation: “Today I know…”

Dive write in, the aura's fine

Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet. These seven colors are powerful tools for writers. So if you’ve lost your muse somewhere along the yellow brick road and don’t have a pair of ruby slippers to find it, look to the rainbow and you’ll discover that writing is an even greater adventure when it’s not all black and white.

Author's Bio: 

A professional writer/editor since 1980, Eleyne-Mari is a certified color therapist who conducts creative writing, spiritual journaling and color therapy workshops for the open-minded. Visit her website at www.colortherapist.com.