Last night in my dreams, a writing angel haunted me. Really. In a strange, exciting, miraculous sort of way, I was awakened at 4:30 am with a virtual cacophony of sentences erupting in my head. Paragraphs in fact, spinning themselves out as if my mind were a blank computer screen and someone else was doing the typing.
“Wait,” I shouted at myself. “Slow down – I’ll never remember all this!”
And it was cold last night, I was cold, I hadn’t remembered to get my blanket out of the storage box in the basement. I was huddled in bed, curled into in fetal position, surrounded by small dogs who were also cold. I was cursing myself because, of all the dozens of notebooks and pens in this house, there wasn’t one of them in my bedroom this morning at 4:30 a.m. And the words, the sentences, some very good sentences, just kept pouring into my semi-conscious head.
Here’s the back story…I’ve been thinking about NaNoWriMo, you know the November madness where some of us who are crazy enough to submit ourselves to 30 days of insane writing torture, sign on to complete a 50,000 word novel during the four weeks of November. So, I’ve been thinking about two ideas – actually, I’ve had these ideas in my mind since last November. One of them is, I think, a really good idea for a novel. But I’m not kidding myself – it’s not an easy idea. It would really require lots of research even to do a half-assed sort of job. And it’s such a good idea (did I say that already?) that I don’t want to waste it by not being ready for it.
You know what I mean?
But that writing dream, well, it was all about this novel. It was just ideas on top of ideas, flooding into my brain at 4:30 in the morning. It was sentences, and names, and dialogue even.
I think the genesis for this visitation arose from the post I read yesterday in Not For Robots, Laini Taylors blog about writing. Here’s what she wrote in her first post:
“You want to write a novel. You have a seed. Perhaps you have a character name, an idea of the setting, and a vague sense of what it’s “about.” A good place to start “brainstorming” is just by freewriting everything you know about your idea so far. Don’t worry at all about the “writing” at this phase, about your prose or sentence structure or having the perfect name for your character. Doesn’t matter. This is just about getting ideas out. Every possible idea, even ones that flitter through your head and you’re pretty sure you won’t use. Go ahead and write them down and give them an opportunity to explain themselves. If it came to mind, there’s a chance there’s something in it you can use. At this stage, do not discriminate. Think of it like the auditions for American Idol. You have to listen to the terrible singers — you have to listen to all the singers — to ferret out the tiny handful of good ones.”
Well, I wrestled with this dream weaver until it was time to get up – finally I managed to drag my cold and rusty bones out of bed, find the notebook I’ve already started for this book, and try to capture some of those crazy words and ideas.
I went to the library, and started poking around with some background research. But there is just so much I need to know for this book. Laini knew I’d make that discovery too. “As you’re writing down everything you know about the story, you’ll start to see how much you don’t know,” she wrote. I sure did, and there’s plenty.
Frankly, I’m scared.
I think it’s too big for me.
Even in my wildest dreams.
How about you? Have you ever been visited by a writing angel? Have you had a writing (or other creative) project you really wanted to do, but were afraid of?