Writers Abroad Blog
Battle of the Brain
Posted by Chris Nedahl

Angela's thought provoking blog last week made me think about how I get to that point of putting pen to paper. Definitely the seeds come from my subconscious but like Alyson, I often need to do some mundane task in order for the seed to bear fruit. Swimming is good for me. I give myself a time in the pool rather than count lengths and therefore, during my swim, I can think freely and develop the possibilities for a story or poem.

As to whether my subconscious is predominately the dark place or the place which shines a  light on my creativity is questionable. I know there have been times when I have not written using an idea that came to me in dream time. When that happens, am I afraid of exposing that idea to the cold light of day? Perhaps I should be braver and take the reins of that unruly horse.

Hamish's comment too, rings true for me. Whilst I don't always start with a character but rather an idea, I tend to plan and structure as an afterthought.  Ideas leap at me and I find myself rethinking to accommodate them when, if I am honest, a well prepared structure would eliminate the possibility of even considering adding many of those ideas to my work. They should be dutifully filed for future reference. Quite often my project becomes a runaway horse, so unruly I don't have the energy to rein it in and the venture is shelved.

Lewis Hou's results uphold creativity being alienated from planning, organisation and social inhibition. Many renowned works identify the authors as putting themselves on the spot, unconcerned by disapproval. Consciously or subconsciously? Probably the latter in most cases.

Having read Angela's blog and analysed my own approach, two things occur to me. Firstly, it seems I really can't help not being a planner once the creative juices have commenced their flow. Secondly, I reject some subconscious ideas because I don't want disapproval - strong conscious thought at play here.

The question is, can I use this knowledge to beneficial conscious effect?  And will it result in a best seller?

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