I had my "AHA" moment yesterday. It was just in time, too, because I've been floundering with this script for about a month. It made me think about something and so I decided to share it with you.
How to be a writer: The "aha" moment
Okay, so we all know that writing is super hard. It takes time, there's very few sexy parties filled with gorgeous members of your chosen sexual interest, and the pay at the beginning is downright laughable. However, there are moments in the process that are euphoric. I call them "aha" moments. And not just because I love me some 80's glamrock.
When designing a story from scratch, you are bound to come upon the dreaded BLOCK once in a while. Writer's Block is a very real (ish) thing, and it basically comes down to this: You don't see the next beat in the story. Things stop, time slows, and you start to remember all those other careers you passed up to pursue the art of lying in print.
An "aha" moment is the exact opposite. They come suddenly, and usually in sets, and it's like a drug. Specifically, it's the drug from Limitless, and your brain takes off in new and unexpected directions. You're hammering away at the keys, hoping that Tom Cruise is available to play your disarmingly handsome miracle dentist, when suddenly BAM!
"Wait, my main character shouldn't have a dog. He should have a CAT! And also eleven other things!"
Usually, my "aha" moments are about beats in the story that never quite fell into place. My main characters were too passive or whiny, or the action dictated the plot instead of my protagonist's decisions driving the story. In this most recent case, I figured out my Act 3.
So, how do we achieve these coveted moments of illumination? Easy! Always be writing.
I know, I know. We've gone over this before, but I think it deserves to be said every day. You need to be writing all the time because you never know when that "aha" moment will strike. More to the point, you need to always have the ability to write down an idea that comes to you. I was lucky in that my paper and pen were handy when inspiration struck. You need to make sure that luck doesn't factor in.
Always keep a pad and pen handy. At All Times! I've had ideas pop into my head while reading in bed, upon waking up, and when in the shower. I've gotten story-changing thoughts while out on a run, or while driving to work. If I'd waited too long, those thoughts would have vanished into thin air. That's why I always have a pen and pad within a few minutes of my body.
I had an idea while walking around Disney World with my nieces and nephew, and I dictated into my phone so I wouldn't forget. You have all the tools you need!
So that's my simple advice for the week. Go buy a good pen (I recommend Lamy) and a good pad, and keep them close. Fanny packs are making a comeback, I think.