Writing Nowadays–The Subconscious Writer

Steven Harper PiziksA while ago, I had a strange dream about my husband. Unlike most dream, which evaporate at sunrise, this one stayed with me and I couldn’t say why.

Meanwhile, I was under stress for a Work in Progress.  I was stuck on a plot point, and the book would not move.  It was awful. Days and days were passing, and still the book wouldn’t move. I tried all the tricks I knew–working on a different project; starting to work on the stuck project, then leaving it to go play video games and watch a DVD; using my patented “what happens next/write it down even if it’s crap” system.  Nothing worked. The piece remained stuck.

Very late one night, Darwin and I were in bed with the lights off and drifting off to sleep. I abruptly took it into my head to tell him about the odd dream.  I was halfway through relating this dream to my semi-annoyed husband when–


The solution to the problem thundered into my head.  It was a lightning hit.  I physically jerked and fell silent in mid-sentence while I processed this.  Darwin became worried and asked what was wrong.

“I have it!” I was so excited I couldn’t quite speak.  “It’s there!  It’s perfect!”

This was less information than Darwin could rightly expect, and he demanded more.  He knew about me being stuck and that I was stressing over it, but not this particular context.  I explained it, trying not to babble.  Darwin didn’t know the plot particulars, so I only said I’d solved the problem, and all at once.

I wanted to run for the keyboard, but it was late, and the next day was a work day.  So I went over the idea in my head several times to make sure I wouldn’t forget what it was by morning and went to sleep.  (It was still there and still good in the morning, so no worries!)

Apparently, my subconscious had solved the problem, but needed a vehicle to get it to my conscious.  So it made me dream about it and then nudged me to talk to Darwin.  The dream had nothing to do with the plot, but I was able to follow the chain–Darwin to dream, dream to solution.

I’ve always maintained my subconscious is a better writer than I am.  This only proves it.

–Steven Harper Piziks

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Danny Large



Writing Nowadays–The Subconscious Writer — 6 Comments

  1. Oh, yeah. Been there sooooo many times.

    I dunno if my unconscious is a better writer (my conscious mind is still struggling with that one) but she sure is a better plotter.

  2. I love it when a plot comes together. I’m always surprised that my lizard brain compels me to add little details all over a manuscript that have nothing to do with the main plot. Then in a blinding flash when I need something, the foreshadowing is there. I just have to build on it.

    My lizard brain is smarter than I am.

  3. The subconscious is an excellent writing partner.

    Sometimes if I’m stuck, I’ll ask my subconscious to help with the problem when I go to bed. Usually by morning I’ve got the fix.

  4. In my experience the key ingredient is sleep. You have to sleep on it, and the Muse leaves the answer on your pillow. Like Santa, she must circle the globe following midnight as it sweeps across the planet; I have run into her at 2 a.m. but never earlier.