Writing Subconsciously

Sometimes when people are talking to me, I often respond with some of my characters’ catchphrases. Other times, I catch myself adopting some of the same mannerisms my characters have. Or maybe I’ll see a person and think that he or she looks like one of my characters.

I would say that events like that are not insanity; they are a kind of subconscious part of the writing process. It’s been proven that when you get fed up with something, be it a certain part of something you’re writing or a math problem or relationship issue, that when you “sleep on it,” or walk away from it for awhile, your subconscious mind will try to sort it out.

Maybe by seeing your characters in yourself and in other people, your brain is continuing to work on your story while you’re not actually sitting at the computer typing. That way when you do start physically writing, you’ll have more ideas and you’ll be able to work your way out of tight corners.

So it’s good to let your ideas rest for a while. Even if you don’t literally “sleep on it,” some time away can do you quite a bit of good!

9 thoughts on “Writing Subconsciously

  1. Be careful of emulating badly behaved characters, Maggie . . . “they” could get you in trouble with socially unacceptable comments and mannerisms. 😉


  2. I am not sure if it is quite the same, but if I read too much in a short time span I sometimes start narrating what I am doing, as if like the author, in my head. It only happens when I am really tired though.


    • I used to do that all the time when I was a little kid. Kind of strange, but I had a lot more time to read back then, so all that reading may have been what caused it.


  3. I love hearing about your writing process. I think I subconsciously absorb what people around me say and do and my characters end up as a morphed version of the world around me. Your method is intriguing because as you adopt the characteristics of your characters, you can easily do or say something that you can add to your story–something that might not have occurred to you if you didn’t test it out in “real life!” 🙂


  4. I don’t think I emulate my characters (and Nancy’s point definitely applies to some of the people I write about 🙂 ), but I do think about my characters as I watch people. And some of my minor characters are definitely based on people I’ve known. I had a friend growing up who I used in one story, and now we’re back in touch (via FB, of course) and I guess he hasn’t read my stuff or he would have said, “Hey, that’s me!”


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