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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Minding your Mind

So I heard this novelist say (and I wish I could cite the novelist, but I can't) that if you have an hour a week to write, it is better to write for 10 minutes 6 days a week than to write for an hour on Saturday. His reasoning (and I do remember that it was a male) was that if you think about your characters every day, you carry them around with you when you are jogging, when you are running errands, and you think about them and develop them even when you aren't writing.

This reminded me of some advice given by the poet & novelist Julianna Baggott (which I've mentioned before) that it is useful to read your work right before you go to bed, so that you might dream some of the answers to your problems, so that you can put your unconscious mind to work on your writing.

So the other night I was working on a poem in which I had an image that I had just worked to death. Rather than simply using the image, I had made an extended metaphor out of it and just worked the magic entirely out of it, and I was wondering what to do. I wanted to cut everything but the image, and leave the leap for the reader to make, but then I had a few empty lines (in a poem with regular stanza lengths otherwise) and I went to sleep thinking about this. At four AM I awoke with two new images to put in the poem, exactly what I needed, and an interesting new perspective in addition.

Yay for the unconscious mind! Yay for the conscious mind! May their collaboration continue!

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