Tag Archives: Intrinsic Writer

The power of the unconscious

I set my novel aside last week, and miracle of miracles, I haven’t acknowledged the urge to read it, re-read it, revise it, edit it, etc.

It used to be barely a day went by where I didn’t look at my own work. I even memorize lines and passages in the book–I hear my characters’ voices in dialogue. This is bad? Well, no. But the problem is if I’m caught up in the text all the time, then it gets difficult to distinguish what is working and what isn’t. I read somewhere that it is wise to let a completed draft of a novel “sit” at least two weeks…or more…before beginning the revision process. So it’s about time I let my guys (meaning my characters, who still live and breath inside me) rest. It’s hard to resist though. I feel like they’re up to something…and I want to find out what it is!

Do I sound nuts? I am, probably. But to be intrinsic, is to constantly…consciously or unconsciously…be working and re-working a story. See right now I’m not physically scouring through my big green binder poking and probing my story, but I’ll bet you any amount of money that subconsciously, there are kinks being worked out in my mind. That’s what we do. It’s what we have to do. It doesn’t require a lot of effort, really. I just remind myself daily that even though I’m not actively involved in writing my novel at the moment, progress should prevail.

So, my advice to all you reading out there who has ever encountered the proverbial ‘writer’s block,’ don’t worry. As long as you don’t lose sight of the story, you’re getting a lot more done than you think! If you’re intrinsic, you’re intrinsic.

Keep dreaming, and let this natural phenomena do the work (for a while, anyway) then get back to the grind.

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Filed under The Writing Life, Writing Process

Was I born to do this?

I’ve always been in a fog. Even as a kid, my mind was half in fantasy. I’d hear all those proverbial comments from relatives and such, that I was on “cloud nine,” or a “space cadet.” I’ve been called quiet, shy, taciturn. Well, yeah, I am. That’s because I’m deep inside, thinking, creating, speculating, observing. Is this what makes a writer? A real writer? An organically innate, intrinsic writer?

This past year, I completed a novel. In January, I plan on using it as my graduate thesis–talk about killing two birds with one stone. The revision process scares me the most. The writing comes easy, the cuts, revamps, and edits…not so much. I’m getting better, though. I may be an ‘intrinsic’ writer, but I’m still inexperienced. Nonetheless, I won’t call myself ‘novice.’ Not after completing 108,000 words from start to finish with a well-crafted plot, and characters who jump off the page–no, not novice, intermediate. Getting there. On my way.

Writing this book–which I cherish–made me realize how naturally this stuff comes to me. I’m not claiming it isn’t difficult, because it is–very difficult. But the ability to tune out, listen, and effortlessly create (an initial draft, anyway) has really been with me my whole life. I remember laying in bed as a teenager, and imagining what my life in college would be like. I literally concocted boyfriends, friends, and acquaintances that had names, personalities, backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. For example, my ‘boyfriend’s’ name was Dylan Posimann, he was from Connecticut. He had two brothers, Owen and Craig, his parents were Ned and Laura. He was tall, had dark hair, green eyes, was a football player, and accounting major (interestingly, I’m engaged to an accountant). Dylan had quiet confidence. Loved James Bond movies. He was even-tempered, knew how to have a good time, but not the life of the party. He hid his emotions, though. His smooth surface masked issues with anxiety. He never knew what kind of man he was supposed to be. So he quieted himself down, and allowed his rowdier, more gregarious friends take center stage.

There were more where that came from. Tina Nirtio, my sarcastic roommate from Buffalo; M.J. Peterman, the bad-ass from Upstate New York; Jon Saoerlly, a Ferris Bueller type from Vermont; Sandra Buturo, rich, prissy, girl with a good heart from Manhattan; Glenn Biasz, dumb-ass football jock from Florida; Roscoe Posimann–Dylan’s more outlandish cousin, actually; I think based him off Ducky from Pretty in Pink. Then there was Shelley Landolo, feisty red-head from Pennsylvania.

I didn’t just generate imaginary friends (wow, I can’t believe I’m admitting this) but these people interacted with each other, stirred up drama, formed love triangles, dumped emotional crap on one another. Of course I gave myself a star role in all this. Some idealized, slightly-altered version of myself. I remember thinking, wow, Beverly Hills 90210 in my head! Every night I’d add more to my mental script. Oh, in case you were wondering…I never encountered these people in college. And I did have my own real life friends…still do.

But I was essentially forging plot lines and characters; it wasn’t until I started actually writing, composing my novel that I remembered how easily all this came to me. All I did was the initial fabrication. The rest developed on it’s own. Freaky, but that’s really how it works. I did this from very early on too. I was constantly envisioning imaginary worlds. I can remember, very distinctly, one night when I was maybe twelve, sitting at my Nana’s dining room table while my family was over there for dinner and having this thought. It went something like this: My whole life is a fantasy. I’m going to spend my whole life imagining that something else is taking place.

So is it true? Was I born to do this? I certainly have that “calling.” Will I be “chosen” though? I can’t really say. I wish I could. I’d like to be further along at this point, but it’s OK. I am on my way. Getting there.

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Filed under Inspiration, The Writing Life, Why We Write