The subconscious is an artist’s best friend. Dreams and nightmares are so much more than night thoughts. They inspire our work, draw out our inner depths.
And sometimes they screw up our writing plans.
I’ve been working on a new children’s chapter book. Everything started real well. My outline grew more detailed as I wrote each section. The kids in my story had plenty of bathroom jokes. The usual fun stuff.
But once the newness wears off the brain starts reaching further. I know deep down how much I will miss writing this particular piece when it’s finished and there’s no fooling my brain. It doesn’t like that feeling. So to prepare me, it sabotaged the middle of the book by presenting me with a nightmare so real, so vivid and crazy that I couldn’t ignore it.
The battle of wills between my conscious efforts and my inner-child is a constant food fight of thought. I fling a hot dog, my dreams throw sushi, I shoot donuts back and suddenly there’s kale floating across my frontal lobe.
It’s a mess, but luckily I’m good at cleaning when I need to.
Compromise is a hefty word in publishing. It holds more weight than royalties and recognition. To find the middle ground within, I like to juggle projects and appease the most prominent ideas that just can’t wait.
So what did I do?
I switched my writing routine around (AGAIN-it never lasts more than a month because I need the excitement of change but the consistency of some kind of schedule). I’ve been taking about an hour to write a chapter of the children’s book, break for other endeavors, then jump into this new short story. Short stories offer the perfect opportunity to keep things fresh. There’s always newness with them.
Add in the fact that the one I started yesterday has aliens and I’m on my way. It’s not too lengthy so I may finish it today or Monday.
The pressure to keep the laughs rolling while entertaining kids and throwing in a little education is lightened and I can focus more on taking the story where it needs to go while the aliens take a nap and wait for their turn.
Today is definitely a good writing day.
There’s a certain amount of attitude an author needs to chase after aliens and go for the weirdness.