By Natalie Bright
This one’s a biggey: I wish someone had told me about story sparks. How they come out of nowhere, at the worst possible times, when there’s not a pen and pencil to be found anywhere.
These elusive visions flit into your mind and disappear with a poof, never to return. It might be a character sporting a wide-faced grin taunting “Catch me if you can.” Sometimes it’s a fantastical place, one that’s so vibrant and alive in your mind. You just know it’s filled with fascinating characters. Other times, this new creation comes to you without a moment’s notice in vivid detail. It might be a crucial scene for your work in progress, no matter if you’re ready for that scene or not.
An Orderly World
As an office manager during the day, I like things orderly. Certain things have specific deadlines. This pile of bills must be paid by the 30th, for example. One particular process is done on the 10th of every month; always. In my mind as a newbie, that’s how I thought writing should be. You start with chapter one and you move forward through your masterpiece until you type THE END.
Stop Lying to Yourself
Don’t believe for one second that writing is a logical process. These glorious sparks of genius come at you day and night, with no rhyme or reason. Snatch them up, greedily, without hesitation. Write that ending to your book, no matter if you’re still struggling through chapter one. When that image appears in your mind, stop everything and put it to words.
Do you carry an idea notebook? In addition to the notepads I carry in my car and purse, I’ve written story ideas on restaurant napkins, band concert programs, and bank deposit slips. In the short time someone can ask, “What’s for dinner?” the idea can be gone, and you’ll be left a weeping, pitiful writer of nothing.
JUST BE during this holiday season. Listen, taste, take a deep breathe–LIVE and fill up your idea notebooks. Merry Christmas everybody!