A writer once said, “There’s nothing to writing. You just sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Nobody’s quite sure who said it, but whoever it was, they understood the way it feels when you’re writing and everything is going smoothly. When the inspiration is flowing through you, it feels like you’re unwrapping the layers of narrative, as if it was always there. You become less of a creator and more of an archeologist, unearthing a forgotten artifact. It’s a feeling that I always find difficult to articulate.
Another way to describe it would be to compare the process of inspired writing to the cult scifi show Doctor Who. In the show, the main character travels through space and time in a police phone box that’s barely four feet square. But on the inside, it is infinitely large. It’s bigger on the inside, with countless new nooks and crannies to discover.
That’s how I’m feeling right now. An idea for a short story hit me like a flash and my fingers are flying across the keyboard. It’s as if the details are hanging in space in front of me, waiting to be plucked down like ripe apples and placed on the page. I love that feeling. It’s exhilarating to uncover the nuances of the story and each character’s secrets. What starts off small and one dimensional — the very first word on an otherwise empty page — reveals itself to have many layers. It expands and unfolds in new and unexpected ways. The story has a life and momentum of its own. You are simply the hands that do the work of capturing the details; the court stenographer of your creative subconscious.
Often, the process of writing is slow and laborious. Each sentence must be bent and shaped; each plot turn agonized over. But in rare moments, the creative process hijacks the writer and you’re along for the ride. Those are the moments that make the hard work worth it. Those are the moments of inspiration that you wait for.
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Jonny Eberle is a writer in Tacoma, WA. When he isn’t burying his readers in metaphors, he can be found on the Twitter machine. Thanks for reading!