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Friday, November 04, 2022

Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming-Summary-Sigmund Freud | Litgalaxy2019

Sigmund Freud, one of the renowned psychoanalysts, in his informal discussion named “Creative Writing and Day-Dreaming” in 1907 has discussed the role of the unconscious and creative writing scientifically. The discussion was later on published in 1908. He made valuable observations in order to propound his new theory known as psychoanalysis. He tried to fathom out the function of the vague elements of the human mind. 

According to Sigmund Freud, we have little control over our physical and mental actions because they are governed by psychological forces. Firstly, he states that most of our mental processes are the result of our unconscious. Secondly, all human behaviour and actions are governed by sexual feelings. The third testimony of Sigmund Freud is that owing to social values and conventions associated to specific sexual impulses, many of our feelings, passions and desires are repressed in the psyche.

Creative Writing and Day-Dreaming-Summary
Creative Writing and Day-Dreaming-Summary


Before studying the relationship between the unconscious and creative writing, we have to take into consideration some of the concept in Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. He has separated the human mind into three parts; they are Id, Ego and Super-Ego

The Id is a primary source of all psychic activity; and it is the store-house of libido. In brief, the Id is an abode of all our unrefined desires and actions. It is not in our control to regulate it properly because it is lawless and uncontrollable. 

The Id is an unconscious part of the mind that is the primary source of psychic energy and desires. It works for the only purpose of finding pleasure through fulfillment of its instinctual needs. It is important to note that some part of the ego mingles with the id, grabbing energy from it through sublimation. In brief, the id is the deepest unconscious part of the mind, devoted entirely to pleasure and driven by blind, instinctual impulses. 

Libido is the source of our psychic energy and instinctual desires. The id is always busy in satisfying its hunger for pleasure. It performs without any restraint and thought of final result of actions, morality, or logic. 

In order to fulfill the demands of human desires and passions, the id tries to get it without following any order, rule or law. As the id follows the pleasure principle, it can be harmful and destructive force. So in order to balance this uncontrolled and unrestrained power of id, the other parts of the psyche need to work to maintain the balance. 

In Freudian psychoanalysis, the terms, Ego is the centre of the psyche which works as a link between the inner self and the external world. It also mediates between the unacceptable demands of the id and the superego. Ego does it partly by deferring and delaying the id’s appeals; or by diverting them into socially acceptable actions. 

This is to be understood as a mediating agency between societal restrictions and the innate passions and demands of the person. For example, a boy may give in to the temptation of smoking along with his friends, justifying it by the argument that he is discovering the experience. 

The ego works on the basis of reality principle. It is just like a regulatory agency which controls the uncontrolled force of id and delays or defers its destructiveness; Ego turns its energy to socially acceptable activities. 

The ego is the closely related section of the psyche and it can be thought of as conscious energy. It rationally regulates and governs. It works as a mediator between our inner selves and external world. So, sometimes our dreams make us realize about the hidden desires lying deep in the penumbra of our psyche. 

Superego: is the part of the mind that brings in discipline and control by forcing unacceptable and irrational desires back into the unconscious. The superego works on a morality principle. It makes one think of what is good and what is bad; and what is socially and morally acceptable and what is prohibited morally. 

The superego tames the unacceptable and uncontrollable forces of the id. The superego is developed early on by parents; and in the later part of our life by social institutions, conventions and other agencies. Superego is equated with the internalized restrictions formed by society.

Harmony between uncontrolled force of the id and restrictions and control of the superego form the personality of man. For example, a teenager may resist the temptation of say, smoking with his friends remembering his parents’ warning against smoking. When the superego becomes the dominating force, it can be a cause of unhappiness and disillusionment to a man.


Creative Writing and Day-Dreaming-Critical Analysis

In his discussion “Creative Writing and Day Dreaming” Sigmund Freud tries to find out the primary source of the creative writer who composes his material and makes a long lasting impression of the reader. Sigmund Freud states that the readers can themselves unfold an activity which is to some extent quite similar to creative writing. 

Difference Between Creative Writing and Imaginative Activity   

If the emphasis is given on the creative writer instead of creative writing, it gives us no satisfactory answer. According to Freud, the first impressions of imaginative activity can be observed in one’s childhood. The child is deeply and intensely attached to the games and activity he loves. 

The child gets engrossed in the activity he likes to do while doing things. He spends a lot of energy and time in the activity. He invests both mind and heart in performing the is important to note that whatever the child does, it is highly imaginative; and it has little connection to the real. 

The child distinguishes his work from quite well from reality. But he tries to associate his imaginative and unreal work and objects to the real objects and things of the actual world that is complex and beyond his understanding.

Freud asserts that the creative artist does the same thing as the child at play. But there is some difference, the creative writer, with his imaginative flight, transports the readers to a world of fantasy; and he takes his work seriously whereas the child pays little attention to his work. With the passage of time, as the child grows up he stops to play; and does not spend his time in imaginative activity. 

Actually he derived immense pleasure in doing those activities in his childhood. It is important to note that though the child has discarded the activity of playing games; he does not want to get rid of the world of his childhood in which he has derived immense pleasure and experienced a lot of things. 

As the child grows older, he now likes to lose himself in the world of fantasy. And he gets pleasure in reveries. Sigmund Freud opines that a number of people build up fantasies at times in their lifetime. It is to be noted that the child cannot hide his games from others whereas the adult person tries to hide them and he wants to keep them in darkness because he is ashamed of his fantasies. 

Relationship Between Creative Writing and Day-Dreaming:


The adult person may confess his guilt to others but he does not like his fantasies to be revealed to others. The difference between the child and the adult’s behaviour is the result of their motives of their activities. 

The games and sport performed by the child is determined by his single wish, i.e. his wish to be a grown up person. So he apes the lifestyle and activities of the elders. But with the adult the case is completely different. The adult person is not expected to engross in day-dreaming and fantasizing. If he does so, his activities will be called as foolish and childish. 

The question comes to our mind that if people try to hide the activity of fantasizing, how people can come to know about their activity of fantasizing. Some people may convey their thoughts to others what gives them pleasure and what makes them sad. For example, the patient nervous breakdown will tell almost about their fantasies and everything to the doctor. 

Successful and happy people seldom engrossed in fantasies whereas unsuccessful and sad people often fantasies. The driving force here is nothing but the suppressed feelings and wishes of a person. Every single fantasy is nothing but a fulfillment of a wish. 

These wishes and desires vary according to gender, sex, and character etc. Freud mentions two types of wishes: the ambitious wishes and the erotic wishes. Freud thinks that in young men the ambitious desires and erotic desires predominate as well as in young women the erotic wishes strongly predominate. 

The wishes and passions may be associated with the past, present and future. The desires make use of the occasion in the present which is based on the pattern of the past and further expands itself to the future. For example, an employed orphaned boy goes to employer to get a job. He becomes favourite of the employer and his family and marries the charming daughter of his employer. And he then becomes the director of the business in his day-dreaming. 

According to Freud, our night dreams are fantasies and they are unfulfilled suppressed wishes and need gratification as day-dreams. Thus, the creative writer has been compared to a day-dreamer in broader sense. 

Sigmund has classified writers into two categories. Ancient authors of epics and tragedies, they borrow their material from the rich source of history and holy books. There is another category of writers who construct their works on the basis of fantasies. The novelists, poets, and short story writers belong to this category of day-dreamers. 

The women in novel fall in love with the young and ambitious heroes of the story which appears artificial and seem unreal. Freud asserts that the psychological novelists could not be clubbed with the great writers of the past such as Homer, Shakespeare and Dante. They can be called as day-dreamers. 

Freud studies the link between the life of writer and his work of art. In the light of the insight we have gained from fantasies, we come to know about the link about the writer and his work of art. 

The creative writer collects some past material of unfulfilled wishes and memories usually associated with his childhood, and he is stirred by the memories in the present and he tries to fulfill his unfulfilled desires in the past in the work of art. 


Thus, Sigmund Freud has discussed how the creative writing like a day-dream is nothing but a continuation of and an alternative for what was once a game in childhood. The day-dreamer tries to keep his fantasies in darkness because he is ashamed of his fantasies and it even not expected form him. But when creative writers like novelists, poets, and short story writers employing their fantasies in their work as source material, we derive pleasure and joy. 

It is really interesting to note that the creative writers present their fantasies in new form and colour through their creative works. Thus the writers make changes in their fantasies and present them to the society in order to entertain and please.  

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