Ever been in that scenario where you’re just staring at your computer screen, willing yourself to come up with a solution to a problem in your story? I’m absolutely certain you have. Do you ever feel like it’s so imperative to solve the issue that you refuse to think about anything else or do anything else, so just sit there and inevitably become increasingly frustrated?
I used to do that all the time, gripped by a feeling of guilt that I was shortchanging myself or not working hard enough if I didn’t persevere for as long as it took.
It’s weird how the thing that seems most counterproductive to this problem is actually the most effective. I can’t remember where I first read about how your subconscious is supremely adept at solving any issues you have if only you give it a chance, but I know I didn’t give it that chance for a long time.
When I finally did give it a go – stepping away from a frustrating plot problem and going for a walk – an answer presented itself to me; not immediately, but as my mind wandered from the problem onto other things, all of a sudden something crashed into my mind, that something being a way to move ahead with my story.
I use this technique all the time now. I’ll go for a walk, or a jog, do the washing up, watch a film. Today I watched an episode of The Walking Dead. Anything that takes your mind off the problem in hand and gives your subconscious time to work on it in the background, without your frustrations and desire to get the answer getting in the way, is the way to go.
It’s a technique you can use for lots of problems. Sometimes you need to get out of your own way to get answers.
Give it a go; next time you’re faced with a problem you can’t seem to get around, go and do something completely different and let your brain take care of coming up with the answer.