Sometimes the Words Just Appear

Philip HarrisRunning, WritingLeave a Comment

Sometimes the words just appear on the page, seemingly from nowhere. Yesterday was one of those days.

It started off with our usual long run. We opted for a doozy of a 24km run that travels from downtown Vancouver, up to the forest trails at the University of British Columbia and then down to Spanish Banks for a nice run alongside the ocean. We don’t get to run this route very often because it’s a bit long and it’s tough – there’s a lot of elevation gain (that’s hills to all you non-runners). So it was nice to run it yesterday, at least until the thunderstorm hit. We ended up literally squelching our way over the last couple of km.

After lunch at Milestones and some half-hearted napping I decided it was time to try and chip away at The Ghost Smuggler. Because I’m rewriting some old chapters I really need to be working with my master Word document which means sitting in the oven I call an office. The heat had already kicked my butt on Saturday and I’d ended up sitting next to the air conditioner in the living room, working on my new merfolk story. I didn’t want to do that again – the first draft of The Ghost Smuggler is almost done and I’m keen to get it wrapped up.

Despite the storm, it was still very warm and when I sat down at the keyboard I didn’t have high hopes for a productive writing session. In fact, I figured I’d get a couple of hundred words down and then retreat to somewhere cooler. Like a sauna.

So, after moving the merfolk story (which is almost finished) from Google Docs into Word, I reluctantly opened up the main Ghost Smuggler manuscript and started typing. The next thing I knew, two hours had passed and I’d added 1,253 words and salvaged 311 more from the original version. Now, that’s not an amazing number of words, even by my standards, but given that I was expecting to scrape by with maybe a couple of hundred, I was very happy. In fact, had we not been going out to see Harry Connick Jr (who, by the way, was excellent) I would have probably just carried on writing.

It’s days like that I strive for as a writer – when the world around me fades away and the words just flow, sometimes in a gentle pitter-patter, sometimes in a great tsunami of creativity. It doesn’t always happen, sometimes I’m just happy to get a dozen words onto the page, but when it does it’s a fantastic feeling.

Maybe the same thing will happen today.

[Sometimes the Words Just Appear by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 12th August 2013]

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