Stuff I Learned at Writer Camp Part 1

Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in General Chaos, Writing Life | 2 comments

Question-Monster-PurpleOne of the most enlightening lectures we had all week was by author Laura J. Mixon. She discussed a concept I’d heard about before, that of writing happening in an almost trance-like state, in different context. She posited the idea that inside all of us creative types is an “other” who is in charge of the unconscious parts of the creation process. You could call it a muse, but Laura likes to call hers ‘the beast’. Over the course of the lecture she went over various ways to care for our inner beasts and how to help the connection between the conscious and unconscious minds.

The result of all this is that I call my internal writing buddy Floyd and in my mind he looks a little like a furry purple monster-thing. Well, something I found out this week while I was driving to work is that Floyd is the poet of the pair of us. Driving helps me disconnect that thinky part of my brain from the feely part, and that’s something I’ve known about for a while–I do some of my best writing while driving. I was sitting at a red light, minding my own business, when some birds flew down from an overhead wire and all of a sudden, off Floyd went. My new story started off as a single line:

The birds flowed down from the tree in a dark stream to cover the ground in a carpet of hopping, feathered bodies.

See? Told you he was a poet! The story isn’t actually about those birds at all, but that’s the image that got me going. I wrote 1470 words on it in my two-hour writing session last night (that’s a topic for another post), but I just wanted to share with my writer friends out there how well this kind of thing works, at least for me.

More about other lectures and what I’ve learned in the days since later.

Hearts and puppies,



  1. Coral, this is perfect. Laura’s talk really resonated with me, as well. I haven’t named my Beast, yet. She’s a slim, slithery thing, though, who likes to sneak up on me when I’m not aware she’s even near me (walking the dog and stirring jam often bring her out). I wish I’d had another week there, so we could’ve spoken together more….

    • Hi Mary!

      Walking the dog is a great beast-invoking activity. As Bear suggested, the shower works for me too. I should start compiling a list for when I feel particularly unmotivated.

      I was so wrapped up in my reading and writing that I didn’t have time to do as much socializing as I would have wished. I’m just glad we can all stay in touch online.


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