Howard Nemerov, author of Journal of the Fictive Life, was quoted as saying this about ideas:
The reason it takes him “so long between one fiction and the next” is “not not ‘having an idea,’ but having ten or twenty ideas, and having to wait as patiently as possible for the relations among them to reveal themselves. …the mind, unable to bear the richness of consequence entailed upon one idea, forthwith produces another instead.”
Don’t you love it? Having ten or twenty ideas all skittering about in the brain, jumping out of the subconscious into the conscious and back again. Flirting, playing peek-a-boo, playing hide-and-go-seek, playing hard-to-get. Ah the joy, the exhilaration, and intense frustration of it all.
The trick is to play the game. Cooperate. Don’t chase too hard. Let the subconscious do its work with the stewing and simmering process. Your subconscious knows what to do and how to do it. Listen. Be patient. Listen. And then be patient some more.
Ernest Hemingway was said to have had a particular place where he did not think about what he was writing at the time. It was in that place the he “…learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day.”
Then he added, “That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything…”
Someone with the depth of writing experience like Hemingway grew to trust his subconscious with the ideas and the creative flow. He knew how to let it do its thing.
When something pops up unexpectedly into the conscious mind, then what? Savvy novelists grab whatever is available to jot notes. Savvy novelists know from experience that the brain cannot be trusted to always remember.
In the Six-Month, Finish-My-Novel Challenge, a powerful in-depth coaching is presented regarding the professional novelist’s attitude, and how that attitude is developed and nurtured. Much has to do with respect for the craft (i.e. respect for the games the subconscious loves to play with you).
If you don’t understand how that works, how can you ever hope to work in tandem with it? How can you ever hope to mine and excavate all it has to offer? (More about the Six-Month Challenge HERE.)
If you’re not ready to take that Challenge just yet, here’s more insight I shared in an earlier blog about the importance of respecting ideas.
Are you one of those budding novelists who makes a great start but you can’t seem to finish? Then this is for you! Be A Novelist, Six-Month, Finish-My-Novel Challenge! Six full months of guidance and instruction. Guaranteed to light a fire under your novel-writing attempts and to launch you into a pattern of consistent writing! Check it out here!