Writing bugs can be found in many places. Some are found at your local library. Others, in your favorite book, but for the most part, these little critters tend to hang out where you least expect. Some can reside in airplanes, subways, busses… even taxi cabs. I once discovered a particularly feisty one along a dusty trail in Santee, where no shade could be had and the sun had chosen to treat me like a burrito in a microwave.
Wherever you encounter these elusive little critters, know this: Their bite is much like a shot of adrenalin. Like all creative muses who float along the ether, writing bugs are drawn to that creative spark that resides within us all. They are attracted to it like a paperclip to an electromagnet. Yes, we are the magnet and our imagination is the crackling electricity that attracts them.
Their bite is like having a stun gun misfire in our hands. True, the initial jolt is a surprise and often we can mistake it for a break in the fabric of reality. After all, here you are, minding your own business when… ZAP! The plain, ordinary world at large suddenly is rendered irrelevant compared to the surrounding explosions of light and sensation.
Unlike an actual stun gun mishap, the writer’s bug leaves you with a sudden rush of ideas. Scenes from a great story can come to mind. A conversation can take place that you know has earth-shattering consequences. A new hero may have been pulled into existence before your eyes and there is only one thing to do about it.
Take these ideas/inspirations to the keyboard and write. Let them all out so that they can find life. See them through to the end. Once you have, the writing bug will let go. If you are lucky, it won’t go far. The meal you’ve given it has provided the little rascal with a sense of belonging and all you’ve lost is a little sleep, a little time and maybe (just maybe) a chunk of reality.
You won’t miss these things, believe me. In the end, time is supposed to be sacrificed while creating something anyway. Painters don’t mind giving it up when putting brush to canvas in order to produce a masterpiece. Sculptors don’t mind when they find a block of marble and take long exhaustive hours to the task of producing something amazing from what started out as a chunk of rock.
Writers are the same. We do not create with paint or stone. We create with words. Words are our medium and the blank screen or page is our canvas. From the emptiness around a cursor, we create more than a scene or conversation. We create worlds. These worlds can only grow and expand. In time, they may even find a place among the shelves in your favorite library or book store. When you next walk into these wondrous dream merchants, think on how all the bound stories and worlds ever made are now available to anyone brave enough to turn a page.
So don’t shy away from the writing bug when it comes up and takes a nibble. Enjoy the inspiration and the epiphany few others may share. Pet it softly. Keep it around and give it a name. I call mine Babs. Ride that story idea and lose track of time. Discover new worlds and never look back.
There are many of us traveling the paths of dreamland, after all. We seek adventure and find challenges at every turn. We have found monsters to slay and prisoners to free. Adversaries have risen against us and we have won great battles. Come along and dive into the rabbit hole, there’s always room for one more.
“Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!” As the saying goes. I’ll see you in the trenches.
Babs says “Hi” by the way.