Writing With DID

Blogs may include sensitive or triggering content. Reader discretion is advised.

As a kid, our system was given absolutely terrible writing advice. Namely, “Waiting for ‘inspiration’ means that you aren’t serious about your work. Inspiration comes AS you write.” and “If you need to create the perfect environment to be able to work on your novel, you are just procrastinating.”

Which is all very well and good for a singlet. But it’s impossible advice to follow if you need to switch the writer into front. Or if, as in our system, your headmates are a troupe of actors and need to be pulled to front to ‘play’ different characters.

Maybe we misinterpreted the definition of “inspiration” when we were young. But, to our system growing up, “I feel inspiration” meant “Thank god X is finally fronting; we need to write while they are around.” And “waiting for the right conditions” meant listening to music that triggered specific, needed alters to front, and waiting for that emotional connection to whichever character led a particular scene.

Even the alters not aware of our DID followed these rules. They didn’t know why we couldn’t “be” the characters unless conditions were right. They didn’t know why we wrote like crap without that feeling of “being” the characters. But it was proven so many times that our writing couldn’t stand up without “respecting the free will of the characters in the novel” that they learned to follow the rules anyway.

Under times of perfectionism and stress, we tended to forget why these rules mattered. We would force ourselves to write a different alter’s part of the story. And then we would inevitably get “writer’s block” until we went back and deleted the offending portion of the book.

Not many of our hosts understood what was going on. A lot of them thought that a diety was helping  write. Or that “the story” itself was a mysterious force that came alive on its own and spoke to our heart in colors.

I think this is part of the reason why it was easy, even for those alters, to believe that we had DID. Once our spouse (then friend) explained that those feelings, for them, were other people in their head…well, that made way more sense than any explanation we had tried to come up with.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that becoming self-aware as an entire system would have aided our ability to write. You would think that we would have these rules written down as instructions above our typewriter, and that everybody in our system would follow them even more religiously now that they understood why they worked.

Call me dumb, but I only just realized this morning that this is why we have had so much trouble writing lately. We stopped following the rules.

Sometimes one’s subconscious understands these things better than your own, over-planning brain. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get ready so I can see what a difference re-instating these rules will make.


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