Chasing Words

Where do the words come from?

Words come to me when I have no time, when I’m under pressure, when I’m tired, when I’m locked in a plane, or trapped in an airport. They race across my mind like bitches in heat, willing to be caught but determined to make me work for it.

Words do not come to me when I clear my desk and my mind and set aside time to write. Then I have to go to them.

I seek them like a dog looking for rabbits in an empty field. I work at it, poking my nose into one empty rabbit hole after another. When I’m tired, and almost out of time the words will pop up out a hole I’ve already looked in, right on the edge of my vision, and make me chase them with what little energy if have left.

Sometimes, when I have left the chase behind and turned my mind to real life, words will come to me in dreams, pouring themselves across my consciousness like spilt ink. To catch them I must wake swiftly and work hard and at the end it seems to me that the best of them have escaped to haunt me another day.

I may never catch enough words to write a novel but I have learned that I will always be chasing words.

2 thoughts on “Chasing Words

  1. This is how it is for me as well, except that the words come to me not in dreams, but in that state that’s between sleep and being fully awake. Lots of times, the stories come almost fully formed, the words flowing one after another like warm syrup. And I know if that I wake enough to attempt to capture them, they’ll be gone before I can; if I let myself stay in that dreamy, half-conscious state, the words seem to drift off, and I cannot recall them when I’m fully wakeful. I have not, unfortunately, found a solution to this dilemma!

    • Hi Janeway,

      I think this goes all the way back to Coleridge and his visitor from Porlock.

      I’m sure they’re in our heads somewhere (where else could they be?)

      Perhaps this is one of those times when we have to learn to enjoy something while it^s there and then let it go.

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