When I was in college, my roommate came back from summer break with a stack of notepads that she handed out to friends. I don’t remember where she got them, probably from a Dunder Mifflin type salesman looking to dump his samples. Each pad had a person’s name and a positive reinforcement at the top of each sheet. The pad she gave me said, “From the Desk of a Positive Person–Emmett Nelson.” I have no idea who Emmett Nelson is, or if he’s even real, but by the time I used that scratch pad up, I felt a kinship with old Emmett. And yes, I felt pretty positive, too.
I recently started a new proposal that I’m optimistic and excited about. When I was searching around for a name for an important secondary character, the name Emmett Nelson just popped in there. The name seemed to fit my character who is a mature, important, and distinguished man. So I named my guy Emmett Nelson and didn’t think much more about it. A few days later, I was writing the first scene where Emmett appears. As I wrote, I realized the name has a fun and unexpected nuance to it that I’d never thought of consciously. It is the perfect name for my character. How did this happen? Did my subconscious know what my conscious mind couldn’t see? Did my subconscious build on what my conscious mind had chosen? However it happens, I love it when it does. I call this writer’s or creative intuition. I wish I could bottle it up for those days when I don’t have a creative thought in my body, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.
From the Desk of a Positive Person–Gina Robinson