I visited once before back in December. I stayed there until April because it was so beautiful, exciting, ever-changing, and addictive. Then I had to leave. Reality called and I had obligations like a writers conference, editing, revisions, networking, beta reading, and a pesky day job.
For months I've been worried I'd never get to visit heaven again. See, I didn't pay attention to how I got there. It wasn't planned, I didn't follow a map, and it wasn't where or what I thought it would be. I stumbled upon it by accident. (If there are such things as accidents--fatalists would say it's all destiny).
My heaven was writing a novel. Sleepless nights, endless cups of coffee, very little food, and being inspired by song lyrics that sent me rushing to my computer to write that next scene. I found joy in creating fantastical puzzle pieces of people, places, events, and conversations--even though I wasn't sure if the pieces would ever fit together.
At the time it wasn't about the end result, it was about getting the next scene, idea, or line out of my head and onto my computer screen. I'd never finish a novel! But gosh, what fun these imaginary people had while keeping me awake at night. Then somehow--maybe by divine or magical intervention--all those puzzle pieces snapped together and told a complete tale.
Surely it was a fluke. Afterward I read many blogs and websites about outlines, plotting tools, character development exercises, etc. If I had read all the "how to" advice before I wrote my first book, I believe it would have never been written. Knowing what I know now, I'd never expect to be able to create a bunch of puzzle pieces and have them mysteriously align again.
Oh, but wait. Here I am writing a new tale, with no outlines or method to my madness. Sparks keep flying and I keep typing while I marvel at how any of this stuff ever finds it's way into my mind. This quote sums it up nicely...
"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." E.L. Doctorow
Maybe this story won't ever snap itself into completion like the last one. Maybe it will. Maybe my journey isn't guided by headlights. Instead, it's bursting through the darkness like colorful fireworks. I don't know what color, or shape, or where the next explosion will be. All I know is each one lights up my world, and I am loving every boom, ooh, and ah.