Saturday, June 8, 2013

Show Up for Work

There is a delicate balance between the conscious you and the unconscious you. You don't live with the unconscious so much as you develop a relationship with it, much like you would a wife or husband. A relationship built on trust. In a good marriage, you trust one another. Whereas a bad marriage is full of distrust and disharmony. I'm not the first one to figure this out. Norman Mailer did before me. So have other very productive authors like Stephen King and Hemingway, for instance. Freud figured it out while on a coke jag.

If you tell yourself you are going to be writing tomorrow morning, make sure you show up at your writing desk. Doesn't matter what might get in the way, be it hangover (again, these are Mailer's words), sickness, injury, Apocalypse, whatever. If, before bed, you promise yourself you're going to be working come morning, your unconscious will go to work on the book you are writing while you are sleeping. When you wake up and begin the process of putting words on a page, the product you produce will not have come entirely from the conscious you, but the unconscious you who has been working all night. This is why three hours of writing can whiz by in what appears to be a matter of minutes. Often we're not even aware of what we've written until we go back and read the pages.

Once more taking Mailer's cue, if you can train yourself to be true to your unconscious and show up for work day after day, then be sure to be honest with it when you need to take a day off. Tell yourself, "Tomorrow I'm not going to work. Tomorrow I'm going to have fun." Your unconscious mind will, in turn, take the night off and in the morning you won't be plagued with story ideas and plot points banging around the inside of your skull like a dozen bees that can't get out.



  1. another great post, vince!

    i totally set the stage for writing days, even driving to starbucks for my favorite tall, bold roast, one sugar in the raw, and pondering en route before returning home to my desk for a day of alternating frustration and energizing moments of "yes!"


    “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

    1. Thanks Elyse...I'm sure you can relate to this...

    2. you're welcome and as i'm sure you can relate, sometimes it's difficult to make yourself take that day off when you find the creative work so very enjoyable ...

  2. Excellent advice, thanks Vincent.