Where And When You Write And Who Is Helping You Out
"You don't do all the writing at your desk. You do it elsewhere, carrying the book with you. The book is your companion, you have it in your mind all the time, running through it, alert for links to it. It becomes your chief companion, in the real sense of the word, you can talk to it quietly. It becomes your sole companion" (James Salter, The Art of Fiction, p. 76).
Salter hints here that, unbenownst to you, the book is writing itself in your mind all the time. The deepest neurons of your brain work on the writing day and night. As recent studies in brain science have revealed, on a conscious level we have no idea about the decisions those independent neurons are making.
Romantic writers used to think of themselves as the amanuenses of the gods, who guided their pens and sent down original ideas. But more likely writers are the amanuenses of their own creative neurons. When your favorite character suddenly does something totally unexpected on the page, it's not because God so decided. The neurons decided -- and they very well may have made that decision at three a.m., when you were fast asleep.
"There comes a time when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real" (Salter, p. 77).