I had to think long and hard about this one because I couldn’t really put my thoughts to words. There was a moment of giving up and throwing the concept out to everyone for how they would do it. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to call it quits when I’ve come so far with the theme. I mean, the analogy has to work somewhere. How could liquid and solid be connected to writing, but gas is impossible? It shouldn’t be and I’m going to bring this theme home.
First, what is gas? It is an air-like fluid substance, which expands freely to fill any space available, irrespective of its quantity. Yes, this is the dictionary definition. I see this as an ephemeral phase of matter because you can’t really hold it and it drifts away so quickly if you see it. Think about how your breath dissipates on a cold day instead of hanging around. It’s this hard to grasp, but still exists side of gas that keeps drawing my attention here. There has to be that part of writing where you know something is there and are trying to contain it. This can lead to the ‘gas’ becoming a liquid and solid, which means I’m not at the end of the path. I might be at the beginning.
Once you have your idea locked down, you move along and don’t really consider the earliest stage. We talk about how the idea came to us, but immediately jump to when it became solid. Yet, there was a moment, either brief or extended, where you were struggling to grab that spark of imagination. Without a doubt, it was there and you know you needed it like you need oxygen. Yet, you kept having to chase it and find a way to creation the conditions to make it solid. Maybe you left it alone and it congealed while you were doing something else. Perhaps meditation worked or you simply brainstormed off the feeling until something clicked. The point is that you began with an ephemeral, barely there idea that grew into the story.
This means, the gas phase of writing is much harder to control than liquid and solid. It doesn’t appear when you want it or expect it. This part just materializes on the periphery of your mind then gradually gets closer to the conscious mind. You are along for the ride at the beginning since you might not realize it’s there. This isn’t to say that you can’t grab it by the horns and wrestle it into submission, but that can leave pieces of it behind or damage the idea. Perhaps at this stage, we’re all pantsers because we aren’t working off a plan. This is where the plan is forged, but it has to be at the proper pace or you will lose it all.
Personally, I tend to ignore these sparks for a bit to see if they stick around. Long ago, I got so many that it was impossible to chase them all, so I let the strongest ones survive to be nurtured. The others vanished back into the ether only to stay gone or return connected to another spark. It makes one wonder if an idea can ever truly be destroyed or it simply changes into something else like matter.
So, what do you think of this ‘gas’ phase of writing? Does it make sense?