writing

Navigating Through the Unconscious Mind to Tell Stories

Everything we do, think, and say in life is motivated by something: actions, thoughts, feelings. We may not be aware because they are expressions of the motivated unconscious.

Take for instance your peddling around in the morning as you get ready to start your day. You take a little longer deciding on what to wear. Maybe on this day, you experiment with your coffee flavoring. Or you look at your nails and figure they’d better match with your outfit if you painted them a deeper shade of pink instead of the red on them. What’s going on deep inside of you?

Whatever your holdup is, it is motivated by something. 

What about that project you were assigned months ago but haven’t touched yet? You were inundated with idea after idea when first assigned and excitement to start flowed through your veins. Why have you procrastinated?

You see Alex in the hallway on your way to the break room and avoid speaking to him. The two of you usually speak about a game from the night before or the latest tech advancement, but today you don’t even give him a head nod. Where is the animosity coming from?

Your avoidance of something or someone, procrastinating, saying what you didn’t mean to say, doing what you didn’t intend to do…it is not by accident. As Sigmund Freud theorized, “Nothing happens by chance or by accident. Everything we do, say, and feel is an expression of the mind–the conscious, preconscious, or unconscious mind.”

The unconscious mind is filled with suppressed memories–experiences we wish never happened–so much to the point we delete them from our existence. They are still there and still a part of us.

Recognize what lies in your unconscious, bring it up, and deal with it by talking it out.

Those are steps toward figuring out why you avoid people or situations, procrastinate from doing the very things that excite you, or delay in tending to your day. Knowing who you are is a step toward clearing blockage. You cannot fix that which you do not own up to as being broken.

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Use life experiences for your stories. Give your characters personality traits and characteristics that bring out their motivated unconscious. What is blocking your character from getting what he wants? How can your character’s motivated unconscious bring awareness to a reader’s suppressed memories? Why doesn’t your character want to have the baby growing in her womb? Go deep, navigate through those unchartered waters.

Blues Notes:  Life gives us stories and stories give us life. We can heal ourselves and each other through the stories we tell.

Discussion Points

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