Finally, an Idea...
Until this past summer, there was a big problem with my so-called "writing" life. I could effortlessly compose lengthy Facebook and blog posts about the mundane events of my life. I sporadically wrote in my journal about nothing at all. So to call myself a "writer" was hypocritical because here was the problem--I did not have an idea for this book that I so desperately wanted to write. I was really just a wordy woman posing as a writer. Because in my mind, a legit writer has a story to tell. Or an idea of a story that propels them to write. A true writer has that novel or book brewing on her laptop, a manuscript hiding in the back of the desk drawer. And me...well, I had neither. Nothing. Not even an idea.
I wanted to write a book, but when it came down to what it would be about--my mind was as blank as clean page. I was a "writer" with no story to tell. Until last summer. I was sitting on this porch swing on a July afternoon in Summertown, Georgia. I was listening to the creak of the swing and letting my mind wander when two characters suddenly appeared. Literally, popped into my head. One moment they were not there and then the next--poof. There they were--and slowly they started to tell me their story.
Over the past six months, I have listened to their voices. I have only written down a few notes in my journal, but this story mainly exists in mind (which is a rather unreliable place for a story to dwell). I have only shared this idea with two people. Because it's still in its infancy, I am like a protective mother; I am not ready to share it just yet. But lately, the voices of these characters have started to get stronger with more direction and purpose. I think they want me to start writing. And that scares me to death.
After searching for an idea for all of these years, I can't start writing. I am paralyzed with fear because my familiar nemesis--Self-Doubt--starts her wicked whispers: What if you start writing and the story just falls apart? Do you have the mental toughness, creativity, and self-discipline to endure this marathon of writing a novel? And if you do write it all--what then? Could it ever be published? To spend all that time and effort writing something that will just take up space on your hard drive. What a waste...
Oh, shut up, evil Self-Doubt. Just. SHUT. UP.
The reason that I am putting this out here in the blogosphere is not to hold myself up to say, "Look at me! I have an IDEA!" This is not a shout-it-from-the-rooftops proclamation. This is a shaky whisper in an attempt to silence that sinister voice--the first timid step in the long marathon to seeing this dream through. But if I put it out there, then it's true. It's real.I can't use the "I don't have an idea for a book" excuse any longer. I have a story to tell so now I need to write. Just write. Word vomit on the screen and not worry about anything else. I need to take my own advice--the advice that I so freely dished out to countless young writers who I taught in creative writing. Just write. Don't listen to the Evil Voice of Doubt inside your head. Just write.
As I type this I realize how crazy I sound. I swear I am not schizophrenic with voices in my head. Actually, I think all writers are a tad crazy, so I am proud to join the ranks of struggling writers. I am now a writer (intentionally dropping the quotes) with a story to tell. So here is to the inkling of an idea and all the hope that it holds.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." --Maya Angelou