Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Disobeying Myself

I'm a proponent of discipline. I think you need to have discipline to sit in a chair for hours and write. You need it to remember to eat and exercise. Your kids need it (I'll be happy to explain how badly they need it when they start screaming at dinner and you ask me what to do--yes, this happens). You need it when you really have to work on something, but would rather watch Queer as Folk on DVD *ahem*. You also need it when it comes to talking yourself into stuff.

Last night, I needed discipline in my dreams. Okay, I know how this sounds. I don't mean that I need to dream blissfully of being tied up and forced to come repeatedly, although that would be nice. What I mean is, making your subconscious work for you.

A while ago, I went to a conference where a speaker told us that you can use your sleeping subconscious to plot for you. All you have to do is tell yourself, aloud, that you need to figure out a specific detail of plot, and it has to be completed by morning when the alarm goes off.

Theoretically, your brain then works on it all night long. You wake up and go, "ah ha!" with the new twist, or plot, or scene, or ending, or whatever. Now, I understand this is supposed to take practice. You have to develop this little nifty trick over time, because you brain isn't used to getting orders as it gears down. The bonus is that your subconscious kind of goes to town when your conscious brain sleeps. That's why you have bizarro dreams about aliens stealing your banana, while your dog gives birth to six kids who all call you mama and demand a raise.

Last night I told my brain, "Brain, by the time the alarm clock goes off tomorrow morning, you will have come up with the opening sequence of Hitched, along with the pertinent plot threads that will begin the story. And by plot threads I mean, who the characters are and why they are in the story."

Confident that I had listened to myself, I proceeded to sleep, secure in the knowledge that my brain would have the same sense of discipline I have, and use the allotted time appropriately.

I am so disappointed.

My brain did not obey. Not even close. Instead, I dreamed of another book and found the error in its opening sequence, fantasized that Adam Lambert was straight and wanted to have my babies (yes, I realize that's not possible, but I did explain the alien/dog thing adequately, right?). I dreamed that I had somehow attached a printer to my brain, via my ear, and I awoke to five new book contracts already issued. And, I dreamed about my brother's high school best friend cuddling in a sleeping bag with me, where we made it to third base and giggled all night. I woke up still chuckling. I have no idea what was so funny, but it was hilarious. Also? Not the first time I've had that dream, and that guy is a douche.

Apparently, my subconscious runs a little rampant. *sigh* I'm going to try it again tonight, because I still haven't figured out how to start Hitched and it comes out the end of June. I have time, I just don't want to take all that time. I owe it to my editor who has been awesome about last minute submissions that have to be stressing her out. I also owe it to me, because I'm way too over-committed to let projects lag.

Which reminds me, I just agreed to two more books later this year. Maybe this is a very good argument for mid-day naps... Hmm.


Amber Skyze said...

I'm tired just thinking about all that writing you need to do. I've been having crazy ass dreams the last few months, but I have an excuse. My dreams are always way out there when I'm pregnant.
Good luck finding the opening to Hitched.

Mia Watts said...

OMG!!!! YOU'RE PREGNANT?!?!!? Why the f*ck didn't you say something? Or did I miss it? I'm such a dickess. How is it going? How do you feel? SPILL IT!

Molly Daniels said...

See there? You've been hiding in your writing cave and missed Amber's news a couple months back!

Your brain is on overload, and is taking a (silly) vacation, lol! There's gotta be a way you can work those dreams into a book or two...

Chris said...

My subconscious chugs away on work stuff all the time - one of the best things I can do over my lunch hour is go out and run a few errands. While I'm driving around and singing along with the radio, my subconscious is chugging away on something that had me stumped. I'll usually have a solution by the time I'm back in the office.

anny cook said...

Most of my stuff is worked out in my dreams, but the trick for me is I have to first start on the book. Then in the dream, it'll be like no, no, no... it's supposed to go THIS way....

Rassles said...

You know what sucks is when you dream about this guy you like and when you try to hook up with him you wake up.

That's bullshit.