Writing as the Discovery of the Subconscious

From what I understand so far, the minor in writing program hugely advocates for each of our personal journeys as a writer. I see this through the idea behind the multi-modal project, the assignment on why I write, and through readings such as the “Shadow Syllabus” and “A Sense of Style.” In class, Shelley addressed moving the Why I Write assignment from the beginning to the end of our time in the gateway for the very reason that we are not expected to know the answer yet. Lynn Hunt also addresses this by discussing how much of our writing comes from our subconscious, so to do so effectively we must find whatever is deep down in there. My purpose in this course is to discover just that.


“By writing, in other words, you are literally firing up your brain and therefore stirring up your conscious thoughts and something new emerges.” – I view this as a welcome reminder that when we sit down to that blank computer screen, we are blind to the limitless of our potential. Just so are most of us still too naïve to honestly answer the question of why we write. The idea is that once we have completed the thoroughly messy, spastic, and confusing writing process, we have discovered something original that was unknown to us at the beginning.


To further prove her point, Hunt informs the reader that 95% of brain activity is unconscious. That leaves very little for the writing process… I hope to uncover a little more of that for my own use through this course. I want to become less intimidated by the writing process and embrace the entire progression instead of anxiously hoping my first draft will turn out to be just good enough. I need to let my thoughts run free instead of reining them in for fear of judgment by others or of disappointment inflicted by my own self.

2 thoughts to “Writing as the Discovery of the Subconscious”

  1. I really like how you describe the blank computer screen as making us “blind to the limitless of our potential.” I completely agree; we surprise ourselves every day with the words and ideas that we come up with. I, too, need to work on my struggle with the “Shitty First Draft” and embrace the inevitable imperfection of it. Hopefully this course, and the Minor in Writing in general, will help us accomplish this goal!

  2. Hi Emily!
    I really like your use of the words conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. I definitely agree not only with Hunt was saying about our writing flowing out of us subconsciously, but with what you said about using the supposed 5% of conscious brain activity we have and stretch it out as far as we can in order to write. I also think that the unconscious parts of our brain are subconsciously used when we do find the courage to let ourselves go enough to fly through a draft without thinking or caring about what we or others will think about it. You also mentioned how some of us tend to be naive when it comes to honestly answering why we write. I almost don’t think it is naiveness that is holding us back though. I think most of us truly do not quite know why we write yet. Through this course, I hope for all of us to honestly be able to answer that question though! Can’t wait to see how everyone’s projects unfold. Good luck with everything!

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