Writing: What Your Subconscious Needs

I lied. I’m actually doing NaNoWriMo this year, mostly because I figure that because this is going to be my last “child-free” (I normally hate that term) NaNoWriMo, so I might as well get something out of it.

And what have I got out of it? Nothing… except the realization that I have no fiction ideas whatsoever. I started writing in hopes that the very act of writing would trigger some kind of idea, but nothing has come to me yet. So I’ve been doing what is more or less a brain dump.

Maybe I shouldn’t say I haven’t gotten anything out of NaNoWriMo so far, because the brain dump has been useful in organizing my thoughts or at least getting them out of my head.

Perhaps my subconscious has no need to entertain itself with a fictional story this time. I realized that every time I have written something in the past, it is something that I needed to write because the underlying theme was something lurking in the back of my brain that I couldn’t articulate in normal words like a normal person.

Instead of saying outright, “I’m struggling with <insert problem here>,” I subconsciously changed it into a story and characters and dealt with it that way. Now, I don’t know if transforming everything into fiction helped to solve the problem, but it did put another spin on it and helped me process it.

So I’m thinking that not only does my subconscious not need to entertain itself, the “problems” it has are not the kind that can be solved or processed with fiction. So my new theory is that writing is a product of the author’s subconscious mind and the theme of said writing is whatever puzzle the author happens to be struggling with at the moment, kind of like when you’re having a problem and you wake up from a deep sleep with the sudden realization of what you need to do.

The subconscious mind is a powerful thing. Don’t underestimate it.

2 thoughts on “Writing: What Your Subconscious Needs

  1. I lied too, Maggie. I started writing my latest NaNoWriMo thing back in March. Back then my so-called manuscript was an infodump of things I wanted to write about. Plus a few opening chapters, because I never know what I’ve got until I pull together my characters and my conflict. Once that’s sorted, I tend to fling random stuff and them and let them improv. I also abandoned my WIP in March, because life got in the way. I resumed in September, and I’m just riding that slow but steady momentum through November and calling it NaNo, but the timing is pure coincidence.

    It’s been my experience that the whole idea of figuring out what you want to write about by writing is crazy. If I have an idea that makes me want to write about it, I’ll jump right on it. (Group of ideas, to be precise, because books are too long for one idea alone to be enough.) But if an author doesn’t have something to write about, there are much better ways to spend their time. More productive, more pleasant, more useful. Some people call that other stuff “living.”

    And if one must obsess about the writer thing, well, first you live it and then you write it. So that other stuff isn’t just good for you, it’s also writerly. Nice word, innit? Writerly. I’m going to use that every day.

    I love the way you used writing to sort out what your subconscious needed to work on. Maybe many writers do that. Maybe most of us just aren’t aware of it.

    But mostly I love that you’re gonna be a mamma!


    1. 🙂 Thank you. I think that my old ideas are getting stale because I can’t relate to the characters anymore, yet no new ideas are coming. In my experience, writing begets writing, so the mere act of writing tended to inspire me. I guess that’s not working out anymore. I need to have some kind of epic dream that will give me an idea. Or some random life happening. “Writerly” is a nice word. Gotta work that into a sentence at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.