Have you ever been hooked on a book? It’s a wonderful feeling! As a child, I loved to read. I was sucked into stories. They were vivid, felt real, at times I preferred them to engaging with what was happening in the moment.
I love that instant when a book pulls you in, when you can no longer put it down. Up until that point you can pick it up at your convenience, read a chapter, and set it down to do other things. Then, as you turn the next page, you go from being yourself to being the main character. You perceive their world through their eyes. You feel their joy, pain, fear, and sense of pride.
Excerpt (and slightly adapted) from Awakening the Inner Author
Suddenly, you absolutely must know:
- How she will handle the knowledge that she was adopted? Will she search for her sister? Would putting together the pieces of her past fill the void that is driving her toward risky behavior and self-sabotage?
- Why didn’t he come home at 10 o’clock? Did he run away? Did something terrible happen?
- Why did they ever get together? Don’t they see that the people they’re currently with are wrong for them?
- How did they get in without breaking the lock? Was it someone she knew? Will someone find out what happened to her in time to stop the killer before there’s another victim?
How Did I Know I Was Hooked on a Book?
It was obvious when I’d become hooked on a book, because if I went somewhere, the book went as well. When the person I was with went to the restroom, I had it out, capturing whatever precious few minutes I could squeeze in, here and there. I’d bring it to school, the dinner table, read it with a flashlight hiding under my blankets, long after bedtime on a school night. I might be up all night finishing it. When I finally set the book down, a page or two had been stained by a fallen tear, while others held echoes of my laughter. If you listened closely enough, while fanning the pages, you just might catch the ever so faint traces of my gasps.
When you love a book, the ending of the story doesn’t necessarily finalize your journey with the characters. You create sequels, prequels, and alternate endings in your imagination. You feel justified filling the gaps in their story. After all, you’ve glimpsed their thoughts, shared their hopes and dreams, witnessed their first kiss, and held them in their darkest hours. No one knows them as you do, because you shared their inner thoughts through success and struggle. When you come across people who have the same quirks as your favorite characters, it gives you a sense of nostalgia, a fuzzy feeling, or causes you to chuckle a little.
Dreaming Your Own Story
Although I could become completely immersed in a story, I never considered writing. I didn’t want to create stories, even though I was telling anyone willing to listen every detail of the last book I’d read (along with a few alternate endings I’d come up with). No, I was ready to have adventures of my own! I was brimming with excitement about becoming the main character of my own story.
I wanted to taste life, love, and even heartbreak, firsthand. I wanted to challenge myself, to be worn down, ready to throw in the towel, until something happened… Something which would give me a spark of hope, propel me forward, and push me well beyond my known potential. I wanted to have close calls, narrowly avoid inevitable destruction, yet somehow emerge victorious. I wanted to collect evidence which would dazzle the jury while devastating the smug killer by suddenly and unexpectedly revealing the truth of the events leading up to the victim’s death.
When I’m Creating
I am fully alive. I see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I run hundreds of scenarios, until I come across the perfect one. I toy with my ideas, like a game, a puzzle to assemble.
I was born creative, but then again, we all are.
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”Pablo Picasso
So, I suppose the question is, how did I remain creative?
My Creative Process
I’m almost always struck by ideas from out of nowhere, typically in my sleep, or while I’m jogging. Never when there’s a pen or paper handy. I can’t tell you how many have been lost because they were not recorded at my bedside. Ideas, like dreams, have a habit of slipping through the cracks of my waking mind.
It turns out, luckily, it wasn’t sleep that created the space for brilliance; it was the lack of mental chatter. At first, this may seem like a minor distinction, but it isn’t. Genius, for me, arises in empty spaces, a mind free of clutter.
If I don’t want to wait for the sandman to deliver, which is not a possibility now that I’m writing full time, I have to be able to create a cognitive environment conducive to creativity. This may happen in a garden, on a meditation pillow, or while cooking. It won’t happen when I’m too busy, too stressed, too rushed, or neglecting to engage in self-care.
Most of what I write today is related to wellness and wellbeing.