The question is like a sore tooth, the answer is less biddable

I’m doing a rewrite on a manuscript after talking to the editor and have started a new chapter one twice. Each time, although I quite like what I’ve written, I’ve realised it didn’t quite do what it needed to. The question of how to ‘fix’ it stays with me as I do other things, gnawing at me. I try to ‘think’ it right, ‘write’ it right and ‘idea-associate’ it right, but nothing works.

Then I let it go. I concentrate on willing the small amount of paint left in the tin to be enough to undercoat the inside of the new/reworked cupboards. And there I am, head deep in the lowest shelf, extending to reach that upper left corner and the answer presents itself, unbidden and just right.

This happens so often (the solution provided by the subconscious) that it might be speculated that worry should never be wasted. But although I know how well the subconscious works (better than the conscious???), I still try to work through problems consciously. So am I failing to learn from experience, or does the subconscious require a certain amount of ‘gnawing’ first?
Not sure. But I am pleased that now I can move forward on the rewrite.

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