Sleep on It

Sleep on It


Fellow writers,

You know how you seem to get these amazing ideas just as you’re falling asleep or in the shower or taking an aimless walk – when your conscious mind is resting and your subconscious mind takes over (and you don’t have anything to record your brilliance with)?

How about when you need to solve a writing problem? Do you give your conscious mind a chance to rest so your subconscious mind can kick into gear?

The next time you’re working on a piece of writing and run into a problem that is driving you nuts – something you just can’t get a handle on –


Try This:


Take a nap. Yes, really. Give your conscious mind a break. Last week, I had to write a new bio – one tiny paragraph – and had been struggling with it for far too long. I took a nap, got up, and wrote it. Done.


OR, and I love this one:

If you’re struggling with a writing problem, before you go to bed for the night, ask for the answer.

You may not get the answer on your first try, especially if you’ve never done before, but try again. And again if you need to.

You have a character whose motivation just isn’t clear to you? Ask.

You can’t find the words to paint a picture of your story’s setting? Ask.

The structure of your piece just doesn’t feel right, and you’re not sure what to do? Ask.


One Caveat:

You don’t want to ask and then lie awake trying to hear an answer.

You need to ask, casually, with no attachment to the outcome. You need to ask out of curiosity and then let it go.

Your subconscious will take it from there.



Reprint of “Something to Consider,” June 19, 2019