You know how it feels to be submerged in a story so deep you forget the rest of the world? Those times you forget to check your calendar and miss that day’s dental appointment or forget that your friend is visiting in two days requiring 48 hours of cleaning or it’s suddenly 3 p.m., time to run errands and you never showered.
If you love reading great books, you know that feeling.
And you also know how much you take the story with you once you do manage to set it down to shower or run an errand (forget cleaning).
We take that story with us and the anticipation of what will happen next reverberates with us and we yearn to return, can’t quite settle our nerves until we have the whole thing finished… that’s a great story. It screws up real life a bit, but we continue to read despite the consequences.
What I’ve discovered is that writing a story I love is much like reading a story I love, only it is drawn out for M-O-N-T-H-S. I carry that tingly anticipation with me all the time. I laugh to myself in the grocery story remembering an awkward scene. I puzzle over how the characters can work out their problems while cooking. I pound the steering wheel while driving when a brilliant idea comes to me. It takes a lot of psychological stamina to carry that anticipation all those months. And I can look forward to living with it the rest of my life because I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying to write great stories.