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A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie
A Year of Writing Dangerously : The DVD in Your Head

A Year of Writing Dangerously (Day 149)

The DVD in Your Head

By Barbara Abercrombie

“The physical act of sitting at your computer writing down words is important of course but your unconscious mind is also doing a lot of the work for you. If you show up. If you hold your characters in your mind, if you constantly look at the world for ideas to go into your book.” — Walter Mosley

Maybe the essay you're writing, or the memoir or novel, has now taken up residence in your inner life, like a DVD playing inside your head. Maybe as you go to sleep at night, you're working on your story, you dream it. And when you brush your teeth in the morning, you're thinking about it, seeing flashbacks of your own life or your characters hovering behind you. If it's a book you're working on, you imagine what the cover will look like. Articles you read in the newspaper or online, things you observe, hear on radio or TV — everything starts to connect to your work.

Maybe you already have a draft of an essay or short story you've written that needs to sit for a while for you to get some perspective on it, and you're looking for the subject of your next one. What you look for you usually find.

Or maybe not. Maybe you're stuck. But the only way to become unstuck is to keep showing up, to keep writing. And trust that when you do show up, something will be playing in your unconscious. •

Next: One of the Worst Things a Writer Can Do »

Excerpted from A YEAR OF WRITING DANGEROUSLY: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement Copyright © 2012 by Barbara Abercrombie. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. or 800/972-6657 ext. 52.

Barbara AbercrombieBarbara Abercrombie teaches in the writing program at UCLA Extension. The author of novels, children's books, and many essays and articles in national publications, her fourteenth book is "A Year of Writing Dangerously." More »