So I stayed up late the other night reading a book about writing called Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell. The idea of the book is that the hero of a novel almost always faces a defining moment almost exactly in the middle of the story, and you can build the story around that moment.
I went to bed, got up at about 4:15 a.m. for a biological function, had a thought about how Bell’s suggestion could apply to a character I’m writing about, wrote down the thought in my journal, and went back to sleep.
I had no memory of that thought when I woke, until I picked up the journal and saw what I had written in the early morning fog. It turns out the thought may be a linchpin that helps me finish the book after all these years.
It’s probably startling how many late-night and early-morning thoughts — how much wisdom — is found as we lie there thinking and then lost because we don’t think to preserve the wisdom in writing.
And of course this is not the first time I’ve written about having a pen and pad next to the bed, and yet I do not regularly keep a pen and pad next to the bed. This time I happened to have set down my journal within reach. Just lucky this time — if you believe in luck.