Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Power of Words

I aspire.

Isn't that a powerful phrase? It's just a short sentence - two words, one subject and one verb, but to me, it means so much.

I have always aspired to be a writer. It sort of happened for a few years after high school when I worked as a journalist, but I discovered soon enough it wasn't the field I really wanted to be in. I have this blog.  I have written little things here and there - letters of recommendation, articles for another blog, etc. - but nothing that has really demanded any time or effort or paid much more than a pittance or a note of thanks.

Last year, a story popped into my head. The characters demanded to be heard, their story to be told. I wrote about 50 pages, and I haven't touched it since. Every time I look at the file, the thoughts flood my head, but I'm not usually in a place to write.

"That seems rather ridiculous," I hear you say. "You're writing right now... why couldn't you go and work on it while you're sitting there?"

The short answer is that I don't have time. The longer and more accurate answer is that once I start typing, I can't stop. Yes, I experience writer's block from time to time, and the story simply won't flow until the character speaks again, but until I reach either a logical stopping point or the character stops talking, I type. It's a compulsion. I don't feel like I have a choice. Once the words start flowing, I can't interrupt them or stop midstream to do something else.

Yesterday a second story idea popped into my head. It arrived around 1 a.m., as all great ideas do, but thankfully I was coherent enough at that hour to fix it in my memory, and in the morning it was still there, growing louder with each passing moment. I tried ignoring it. I know that I don't have the time to devote to another story right now. But the main character wouldn't stop talking. She needed to be heard.

And so, rather reluctantly, because I knew what would happen, I opened a Word document and began to type. (Doodlebug saw me punching furiously at the keys and asked, "Mom, what do you do with all these stories?" and I answered him honestly. "I never finish them.") By 10 last night, I had written more than 5000 words on nearly 10 pages. I was only able to stop because the character went to bed. She's already up this morning and wants to tell me what happens next. I can't put it down right now because I moved the working document to my other computer, and I'm not tech-savvy enough to reach through the network and grab it off the screen. But she's there. She's talking.

One day I will be a writer. Will I ever be published? Unlikely. But right now the possibility is out there, the stories itching to be written. I just wish I had the time.

What do you wish you had more time for?

No comments: