If I could grant a single wish to my fellow writers, it would be for them to experience an Archimedes-worthy moment at least once during their writing process. A moment when they figure out a solution to a plot problem that’s been stalling their manuscript for way too long. A moment when they hit upon the detail that takes their story from decent to brilliant. A moment like the one I experienced one night last week.
It’s not often that I find myself with free time to write that isn’t planned. A couple of nights ago, however, I arrived at a restaurant about 20 minutes earlier than the rest of the WriteOwls and took advantage of the unexpected writing time. About 100 words into the scene, I wrote a piece of dialogue that brought my pen to a halt. I re-read the sentence. I circled two words within it. Those two words triggered an idea that answered a previously unresolved part of my story. Just like that. Without even thinking or trying, I had found a solution that had been stumping me for weeks.
I scribbled my thoughts about it in the margin. I added a star next to the note. Had I been Carlton Banks, I would have busted out a Tom Jones CD and started dancing. I suppressed the urge to squeal. I was in a restaurant, after all. But I had just had a breakthrough with my story! I checked the time. Where were my friends? I needed to share this moment with them. They, of all people, would understand and rejoice with me. When they arrived a few minutes later, we did just that. Had we been tweens, we probably would have jumped up and down while in a circle hug. Ok, maybe not; but that’s how I felt in the moment – like Mary Lou Retton powering over the vault and sticking the landing for Olympic Gold.
I’m happy to say this moment wasn’t a first for me. I’ve experienced similar breakthrough moments at least three other times while writing this particular novel. Each time has elicited a must-do-a-happy dance, must-share-my-joy-immediately reaction. That kind of bliss inspires me to write like mad for as long as the high lasts. Those moments take my writing to a new level. Those moments remind me of why I am a writer. So may you, too, experience moments like these while you’re writing. And may my wish for you come true oh so very soon.