It’s Been A While Since an Idea Ate My Brain

There I was, minding my own business, fixating on something else entirely (if I’m going to be completely honest, it was something to do with one of my odd famous person crushes), and then out of nowhere, a scene from a story popped into my head.

It was a perfect, fully formed scene. I knew exactly how it was going to play out, but I didn’t have much other context to it. No big deal. Happens often. All part of being a writer.

Over the next few days, the context came to me unbidden. The characters revealed their names, their circumstances, their stories. It was just something that would happen when my mind would drift. Another piece of the story puzzle would be discovered and slotted into place.

The story buzzed around my brain, consuming it. By the time I hit Friday night, it was firmly lodged in there. Which proved to be a bit problematic in the dead hours of the night when the Friday night insomnia hit, a phenomenon that plagues me periodically as a nightshift worker who works Saturday mornings. If I’m able to fall asleep at a decent hour, I’ll wake up after a good two or three hour nap and then be awake for at least an hour if not more. The Friday night insomnia routinely adds up to only 3 to 4 hours of sleep for my Saturday shift. And that Friday, those awake hours I was supposed to be lulling my brain back to sleep, I was writing the damn story in my head.

Late that Saturday night, I spent forty-five minutes outlining the entire story, beat by beat.

I slept better than night.

And every night since.

Outlining the story seems to have quieted the idea. Oh, it’s still very much so in there. I can pull it up whenever I want to ponder it. But it’s not insistently gnawing on my brain anymore. Which is kind of a good thing since I do like my beauty rest.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a story idea eat my brain like this. I get ideas that I’ll think about off and on, jot down, maybe half-ass outline if I’m feeling ambitious. But I can’t remember the last time a story has actually kept me up at night. Or come out so perfectly formed in an actual outline. Even my best stories tend to have gaps. Sometimes they only have one scene and that’s what I’m writing toward and by the time I get there, I know what the story is.

This story was just there. It might have taken me a week or so to have it fully come to the surface, but it had my grey matter in its little fists while it did, yanking itself out of the folds of my brain noodles by my synapses.

It made me itch to write it because I knew it would just flow.

I held off, though. Mostly because of other commitments. I’m up to my eyeballs in projects right now. I’ve thought about doing it as a second page-a-day project, but I honestly think that once I start, I wouldn’t be able to stop at just one page. On the flip side, I don’t think I can wait until NaNo to write it either.

I found a compromise in making Sunday -usually my work-free day- my guaranteed writing day. I’m not going to set any real goals for the day. It’s just guaranteed time for me to work on the project, however much or little I want to. I wasn’t going to start until the first Sunday in September, but…I gave in and started a week early.

I had to.

Before it started gnawing on my brain again.

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