Nothing kills story innovation faster than our inner critic. It’s counterintuitive, but when writing drafts, we need to turn our brains off. When we work from our conscious mind, the ego takes over. What a poor sentence! That character should be more likable. Does this even resemble a book page. Our writing choices become predictable and guarded. The inner editor pulls us away from the magic.
Great story writing comes from the unconscious mind where our intuition and deepest emotional intelligence lay. Our truest unedited thoughts and our reservoir of unique life experiences give rise to our authorial voice. When we write from our head, we risk suppressing that voice.
For the past seven years, I’ve known the gist of the next literary historical novel I’ll write. Months ago, I discovered an engaging 1800s newspaper ad which I thought would become a short story. This morning I read a psychology text about anxiety. From out of nowhere, those three ideas married together and I could barely write fast enough to capture the story as it flowed. Had I tasked my conscious mind with combining these unrelated fragments, I expect the outcome would have been less interesting.
I operate from the premise that the story exists inside me. I don’t try to think it up, I focus on getting it down. When my head starts taking over, I lay down my pen and turn my attention inward through deep breaths until I sink into my body again where stories live.
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“The environmental component is relevant to our times, the struggle to be heard over greed and ignorance and other people’s agendas is real. (…) This book would lend itself to be made into a movie.” ~ Canadian Author Association