It’s hard to describe to someone who has never experienced it. Which is infuriating for a writer.
The urge to write.
No, not urge. Need.
It’ll start with a thought – maybe a shoe on the side of the road, or a misshapen leaf. Something small. And then the wheels begin to turn and the story starts to weave itself in your head.
That’s when the terror begins. If you don’t get it down quick, it’ll disappear. An infant plot line is much like smoke, you can see it and you can smell it, but if you don’t do something quick to contain it, it’s going to disappear.
Except unlike smoke, you don’t want it to go.
So you repeat it over and over in your head, hoping it engraves itself enough on your brain you can dig it back out when the time is right. Or your thumbs twitch over your cell phone at a stop light – illegally – because it’s just too good and you don’t even care if you get a $100 texting and driving ticket. Cost of doing business.
And maybe you get enough down that you feel like it’ll stick. But maybe you don’t. Or you think of more.
An ache starts in your chest and your heart probably picks up pace. You could walk around all day like that. Distracted from the real world by the one building in your head.
And then finally you have the time to get it out. You don’t dissect each bit – that’ll come later. You just let it come out as quick as you can, flowing from the nooks and crannies of your brain onto the screen. You no longer have control of what’s happening, the fictional characters in your head are doing all the work, you’re just scribe.
You glance at the clock. Midnight.
Doesn’t matter, there’s still more to go. Your eyes might sag and beg to be closed but you can’t. Not until it’s all there, not letting one detail escape.
In the light of day you review it. You might not even remember some parts. Much of it needs work, some should be trashed, and you’re not sure what to make of the rest – maybe it’s good, but maybe you’ll end up deleting it in a week.
Either way, you’re satisfied for the time being.
And maybe this isn’t how it is for anyone else, I couldn’t tell you, I’m only me. It doesn’t happen like this every time, I don’t think I’d have the stamina for it to. When the inspiration hits in this way it’s all consuming and exhausting. But so very perfect.