Monday, January 10, 2011

Unconscious Writing

I won't bore you all with my interpretation of what unconscious writing is when so many brighter and more competent writers can explain it much better.  If you don't know what it is then this post will help. 

Okay so now you're back (or you're just roolly roolly clever and didn't need to read the explanation) here's the rest of my post.

I love knitting.  Right now I guess you're thinking: "oh the poor dear she's pasted in part of another blog and not realised it" but work with me here.  It will all make sense in the end.  Or close enough.  Anyway, back to knitting.  I find it extremely cathartic to rhythmically put knots in wool (or acrylic, or bamboo) in a specific pattern and in the end it turns out to be A THING (sometimes attractive, sometimes cute, sometimes even recognisable).  But it's what happens to my brain while I'm doing it that's relevant to writing.

Imagine, if you will, having a complex problem to sort out at exactly the same time that you need to cook dinner.  What if some wonderful helpful person came along and said, let me sort out this problem while you whip up some culinary masterpiece?  That's what my unconscious does for me (except it doesn't talk like that although I wish it did).  If I'm stuck at a certain point in my WIP or thinking about plot points or character backgrounds, I pick up my knitting and while my conscious mind is following the pattern, my unconscious mind is working on the problem I set it and after a while - voila! I have the answer.

And the good thing is that it works with all sorts of activities, not just knitting.  It works with doing the dishes, vacuuming, grocery shopping, cooking and even gardening.  Of course it's not the be all and end all of helpful writing tips - just because I come up with an answer to a problem doesn't mean it's the perfect answer.  Or even the right one.  But it's something.  And when you're stuck, something is always better than nothing.

At least that's what my unconscious tells me.


L'Aussie said...

Hi Elissa! Writing is a creative pursuit and so is knitting. We move from one creative form to another. I bake or read when I'm stuck. It keeps the creative juices flowing and I come back to my work refreshed and full of ideas and cupcakes!!

Looking forward to seeing you at the Pub Party!

Elissa Graham said...

I've got my feet up today, resting so that I'll be all fresh and feisty for tomorrow's party!