No, I’m not talking about having great ideas for stories when you’re on the toilet, or when you’re not anywhere near pen, paper or any other kind of recording thingamabob, although that is pretty annoying too and has happened to me on many the occasion!
I am in fact talking in a much broader sense here. Let me explain. As many of you now know, I’m moving to Sweden in January (which I wrote about a couple of posts ago), and consequently the next few months are going to be chaotic if the last few weeks are anything to judge by. As many of you also know, I like to participate in NaNoWriMo each year, that crazy event where hundreds of thousands of writers around the world scramble to write a 50 000 word (or more) novel in the space of 30 days, in November. I have completed this for 4 years in a row, with varying results, but after not particularly enjoying what I wrote last year, and with my impending international relocation, I was almost definite about my decision not to participate in NaNoWriMo this coming November.
And then I had a good idea.
It might be one of the best ideas I have had for a story in a long time. It’s odd, because 2 of the 4 novels I wrote, I had no idea what I was writing during the process, 1 of them I started planning 2 or 3 weeks before, and the other one I came up with the idea about 2 days before I started writing (and this one, the one I completed in 2011, is the only one I actually don’t mind so far). But I have never had an idea for a novel several months before writing it, and definitely not one so good that I felt overwhelmed by the desire, no, more than that, by the complete and utter necessity to write it. But here I am, and I’m shaking my head at, well, my head.
It’s hard to explain the idea specifically, as it’s still all whirling around in my mind, and I’m slowly getting it all down on paper in between enormous bouts of brain storming ideas in various ways (this idea already has its own notebook for scribbling everything down during the planning process). But, roughly, it’s about loneliness, and has been inspired by a few things, by a few experiences with family, friends, loved ones, by a few things I’ve read here and there, things I’ve seen and heard, and I think the final straw was a recent blog by Stephen Fry that I am betting at least some of you have seen (it was published in June on his site, and is of course very much worth a read).
The idea is overly ambitious, but it feels like a story I have been trying to tell for many years, and it’s just taken me this long to realise it. So, despite my already overly dramatic life, I am going to find a way to write this novel during that month, or at least start it and keep to the pace enough to complete NaNoWriMo (I suspect I’ll be needing a lot more than 50 000 words to tell this story properly, and to tell it the way it deserves). This idea may have come at the completely wrong time, but I think as a writer when you have a story to tell you just have to find a way to tell it. And that’s what I’m going to do.
Have any of you ever experienced something like this, where you know you don’t really have the time to invest in a creative project, but do anyway because you feel you need to get an idea out of your head and into the world? What was it like going through this?