Broken Faucet

How would you describe how you write or how ideas come to you? Let me know in the comments!

I wave my arm around, searching for the bedside lamp. My hand collides with the metal shade and I somehow find the knob that basks my room in a dim yellow. Three hours before my alarm goes off at 4 AM to get me up for work. I find the notebook under my pillow, the pen wrapped in my earbuds. The first blank page gets covered in blue ink as I scribble down the sentences and paragraph that woke me. Fifteen minutes later and I’ve written several paragraphs with edits scratched between the lines.

My best friend has asked for years how I write, where ideas come from. I honestly can’t tell her. Or at least I can’t explain the ambiguity of the universe that somehow strings words together to create these worlds and these characters that grab me.

The only way to even describe how I write is it’s like a broken faucet. I can’t shut it off to sleep, or work on anything else writing related. My brain drowns in visualizing scenes, writing sentences in my head until they’re perfect. And even then I edit them a hundred more times once it’s down on a page or the notes app on my phone.

As quick as the idea pours out, it’s gone. I’ve fixed the faucet and my brain attempts to figure out what happened.

I barely remember the nights I wrote the short stories I submitted to my undergrad workshops and the MFAs I applied to. My only memories are the time on my phone – the hours between 2:30 AM and 5:30 AM – and sitting on the carpet of my dorm room.

My brain goes through this process for days at a time until it’s exhausted. Then everything dries up and I feel stagnant for weeks. I hear and read about writers that sit every day and work on new stories, new chapters, new works. Part of me is jealous of that ability. I’ve tried to build writing into my routine, but every time I forced myself to write something my head wasn’t ready to produce, I hated it. Those snippets are buried deep in some word document I’ll look at eventually.

Every writer has a method to their madness. Mine comes out as some kind of exhaustive mania.

MFA acceptance notifications go out over the next few months. My worry comes out as manic writing, leaving me blurry-eyed every morning.

It’d be nice to get a decent night’s rest, but I don’t think the dripping of this faucet is going to let me.

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