The snow is falling again. The trees that were almost brown yesterday now huddle under a blanket of white.
Sometimes snow comes down in flakes, sometimes in tiny balls of ice. At the moment it’s falling one tiny, almost invisible fragment at a time, but tomorrow I might get lost in it just stepping out my front door.
Writing is like that too. Sometimes I’ll get a single solitary idea that drifts in and might be gone if I wait too long or get distracted. Sometimes the idea is a chunk of ice that falls and loses itself among all the other chunks of ice. Sometimes the ideas come in flurries and I can’t decide which to use, and sometimes I could just sit and watch them drift for hours.
Like snowflakes, ideas are fragile and ephemeral, there one moment and lost the next into a sheet of white that smothers the world.
The trick is to hold one of those in your mind long enough to get to the computer (or the paper, if you write that way) and begin.
If you continue watching, enjoying the beauty of drifting white, the ideas will be lost and you’ll never find them again.
At least that’s the way it is for me. Ideas spring at me in the most unlikely places, sometimes tiny and fragile, sometimes bludgeoning me with the need to write. Most of them go by unnoticed. A few catch my attention, but once in a while I’ll actually manage to get to the computer before the idea melts into oblivion.
Although there are some major differences as well–I have never shoveled eighteen inches of story ideas off my front porch.
Last spring I saw a butterfly. It was tiny, about half the size of my thumb, and I only saw it for a moment, but it flashed its wings at me and disappeared into the flowers. It’s not even the colors. I didn’t see the pattern.
Sometimes I’ll read something that makes that kind of impression–a flicker of wings that sticks with me long after I close the book. I can laugh for days on the sheer inebriation of it. Inebriation. I can’t think of another word that fits. It makes me hyper, excited, laughing, so full of energy that I sometimes have a hard time sleeping. Once I went through a full day at work without realizing I hadn’t eaten. I wasn’t even hungry.
Sometimes it’s only the first read that does it, but sometimes it sticks with me. Never movies, for some reason. Always books. A few of the books that have been like that for me are The Thread that Binds the Bones, The Hourglass Door, and Uncertain Voyage. The interesting thing is that sometimes it changes. I’ll read something, then come back to it six months or six years later and I don’t find that magic any longer.
I don’t know if I’ve ever written anything that does that for other people, but I’ll get a hint of wings at the edges of my sight that makes me wonder. I caught a hint of it when I wrote Undersea, a hint in Demontaint. Maybe I’m just too close to my own stories, I can’t see the inside of my head. I just hope that someday one of my readers finds that same magic in something I wrote.
Join your hosts, Alice, Ava, Elissa, Jocelyn, Lauren, Lilly and Nichole as we discuss Writer’s Groups. Have you ever thought about starting, or joining a writers group? Listen as we share our experience with writer’s groups, what works and what doesn’t and how our writer’s group evolved into the manuscript-making machine it is now- with a lot of laughter along the way. Write in the comments section below your Writer’s Group stories, the good, the bad, and THE ugly, and what has worked for you.
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