By this I do not mean that my prose might be improved by a pistol-whipping
(although some might think it
Rather, I'm referring to the dual roles of the conscious
in writing. I first encountered this idea in Dorothea Brande
Becoming a writer
(and, like all really good ideas, once I'd heard it
I was sure it was my own).
Briefly, she suggests that it is useful to separate
the conscious and unconscious, to allow them to give us their greatest
benefit in the areas where they are strongest. So, the unconscious is the
creative force, unfettered by conventions, allowing us to tap the area of
the mind between sleep and waking, or when we daydream.
Whereas the conscious organises, vets, patrols, adheres to rules.
Of course we need both, without the unconscious we would never produce anything, or only something horribly stilted, and the conscious is required as
critic and reviser, to reign us in. I don't take this idea of Brande's
literally, but it is a useful metaphor for writing.
In my case the conscious is too dominant, I believe; the inner critic
is too powerful and scorns the unconscious' work too readily. I often
feel after my initial draft of something that I could easily revise it
all away until nothing but a single phrase is left, or perhaps a sentence,
rarely a whole paragraph.
I need to get past this and I'm sure I will.