I need to marinate this scene a little more before I can write it. Plus it’s the end of the day and I’m getting punch-drunk, I think.

A lot of writing became easier after I made the decision to turn things over to what I call “the subconscious engines” when a certain type of resistance crops up.

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So much of the work of writing goes on below the floorboards of the conscious mind. I toss enough food through the cellar trapdoor, and after a while something down there hurls up the next line/scene.

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Writing, like any art, is a paradox of absolute control (you’re in charge of your characters) and mastery (of your craft) versus complete submission (to the process and where the story wants to go).

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The balancing act of steering a story in movement is sort of like bicycle riding—constant, ongoing, multiple adjustments, tiny and large, the entire time.

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No matter what else I’m doing—running, chores, errands, anything—the story is still cooking under those floorboards. Work is still going on even when I look somnolent.

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This is at once cool (because there’s always something happening in my head) and terrifying (because I CANNOT shut it off).

All things serve the work.

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I used to think I was cut off from actual living because the reflex in my head is constantly making stories or taking notes for stories.

Now I think it just makes me human.

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We are creatures of meaning. We’re hungry for it, we seek it everywhere. It’s kind of a blessing to be so close to the engine, seeing it whirl and spark up close.

But only kind of.

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YMMV, of course… but if you’re having trouble with a story or a scene, you might want to consider that maybe the engines below the floorboards haven’t finished with it yet.

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Learning to make the *conscious decision* to let something sit in your sub-brain for a little while, to cook a little bit more, to let the vast buried iceberg part of you work in its massive silence…

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…ay, there’s the rub.

The balance of poking the story-bear out of its cave or letting it doze on its mound of meat and snapped bone is a difficult one, and ever-changing.

And now, having mutilated several metaphors to messily attempt communication of a complex process, I shall take myself to bed with a book.

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