Today I got up and virtually ran to the computer. I forgot about showering or having breakfast. The only thing I allowed myself was a gulp of water – it was imperative that I sat down in front of the computer and typed what was in my head.
It felt like my life depended on it.
Because today I started writing a novel that has been kicking around inside my head for years. It all started with a title.
I was driving to work one day 15 years ago when this title plopped, whole and complete, into my mind. ‘Great title’, I thought, ‘so what’s the story about?’ And a rough idea began to form. Problem is, I have never had the guts to sit down and do anything with this rough idea. Until today.
What’s so different about today? Well, this morning I started reading The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. It’s different. It’s quirky. It’s unusual. In short, I love it. Even the cover inspires me (it reminds me of an old Pink Panther movie).
But the real reason I was jet-propelled from my bed to the computer in 0.05 seconds is the novel’s title.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared. Who can resist a title like that? It reminded me of the title I scribbled 15 years ago on a scrap of paper (and promptly lost somewhere – only luckily it lodged itself firmly in my brain and refused to budge).
My title is long and unusual, like The Hundred-Year-Old Man. And the fact that a bestselling author used a similar title weirdly gave me permission to use my own. And as soon as I had permission to use the title I had thought up years ago but thought too ‘out-there’ to be used, a torrent of words wanted to come out of me – and that turned out to be the first pages of a novel.
I am beyond chuffed that this has happened. But I am alarmed at the same time. Why do I need my ideas to be validated by someone else (in this case a stranger I have never met before and in all probability will never meet) in order to think they are worthy and OK to use? Why can’t I grant myself permission and just get on with it?
Does this explain why I have struggled for 43 years (it was my birthday on Saturday) to write what’s inside of me but which flatly refuses to come out…because I am waiting for some sort of permission??