I know it when I feel it.
First, a heaviness.
It may hit me blind or grow quiet. Either way, I wake up one morning knowing the words returned in the middle of the night. I'm left with the tension of telling everyone in my vicinity and keeping the knowledge close. I don't want to spook the kismet.
Next, the flutter.
Characters begin shouting their sass. Inspiration oozes from every interaction. One minute I'm not even thinking about plot and word count and structure and the next? The next I'm outlining scenes and laughing and dancing in my chair. The flutter turns into chills on my arms and I wonder —
do I have it in me to do it again?
Somewhere within this movement, the emotion comes.
Yesterday, this happened.
First I found an article synchronous with an idea circulating in my veins, something that's brushing up against the darker version — the one I blinked into existence about a week ago and became frightened by its intensity. The article gives me pause. It makes me shake internally. I feel the tears threaten and swallow them away and work on something else, throwing up the question to the Universe and letting it rest.
The connection came later.
Staring at the descriptors, one caught my eye. This, mixed with that, and there IT is...my book.
I shoot a message to a friend, asking her what she thinks about it, and she responds immediately.
You write that thing. I mean it.
And then, the tears.
ast night, a friend told me he loves that there is a process before my process — the way words come and introduce themselves to me. I told him that's where the emotion comes for me. It's an old familiar feeling, running through my bones all over again.
Because it's one thing to come up with an idea. It's another to recognize the synchronicity of art and story and characters begging you to come out and play.
There are moments I get stuck. There are times within the process where I wonder if I'll ever feel the weight of the last sentence. But what really pushes me over the edge? It's not the fear of quitting in the middle of a piece. I'm too stubborn for that to happen.
It's the beginning again that catches in my throat. The heaviness is there for a reason. It's months of words building on top of one another and manifesting as a monster threatening to claw its way out of my soul.
The concept of writing isn't a question anymore. It's not even a should. The concept of writing has turned into a must.
In the next couple of weeks, I'll be gathering my people around me. The ones who pushed me through SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WATER & SKY will be the same ones who whisper strength and encouragement over my words with this new project. And in a month or three, when I press the last key that wraps up the end of my third book, the heaviness will fade and the flutter will return and the tears will flow down my cheeks.
Because I beat the monster once again.
And here's the secret: you can too.
You have a story inside. You know the one. You know it because this post made you emotional and your hands are kind of vibrating with a buzz you didn't know existed.
Write the book.
Start with one word, and then another, and then don't stop until you feel your characters breathe easy with completion. You may think no one will read it. You may think the story's not important.
But you will never know unless you try.
Need more inspiration? Introducing Hustle & Flow: a weekly letter with artistic visioning for the everyday creative. I would love it if you signed up, and I won't ever spam you. Promise.
You'll get hints and anecdotes about getting unstuck and living your most artistic life within the midst of your every day poetics. AND, if you sign up during October, you'll get some special extras dealing with indie-publishing.