It gave me a headache. Like I seriously had a headache until the moment my fingers began trickling across the keyboard.

I hadn’t slept at all the night before and that may have had something to do with it, too. Being up until 4:00 a.m. can have that effect.

But once the kids were ushered off to school and the house was quiet, the dull ache in my head began to subside and the near-bursting pressure in my ribs took over. I had to write. I had to get these ideas out of the trapped space in my brain and onto paper. It was like they had materialized overnight. I hadn’t known them the day before, but suddenly Tessa, Joel, and Liam were lifelong friends; ones that needed their story to be told.

I wrote for two days without telling anyone. Brad knew, of course. It’s hard to keep things from husbands, and it’s not like I wanted to. I needed some reassurance that this wasn’t as crazy as it felt. Because it felt crazy. It felt crazy to have such a strong drive to write. I’d had it before, but I’d always pushed it down, always shoved it to the corner of my brain that housed all of my other far-fetched dreams. That same part where the hopes of being an actress or a journalist resided. The place where abandoned dreams went to die–maybe not necessarily die, but never become reality.

But for some reason, this time I listened to that little voice. Maybe because it was the middle of night and delirium had taken over and I wasn’t coherent enough to realize that maybe this wasn’t the great idea I thought it was. Maybe those bleary nighttime hours gave me a false-confidence that this was something I could attack with full force. But maybe it was something more. Maybe it was something greater, some kind of gift I’d been given in my mind–in my mind only–and it was my responsibility to make it a reality. After a little back and forth with my inner insecurities, I settled on the latter.

It didn’t take long to get it out of me. I had the story from day one and actually wrote the final chapter very early on in the process. It was like there weren’t enough hours in the day, nor in the night. I never suffered from writer’s block–just the opposite. Every time I’d sit down to my computer, my fingers would fly, the words would flow, and the characters would surprise me with their actions, their dialogue, and their emotions. They honestly wrote themselves and I found myself becoming so wrapped up in them, in their story. I’d be at a stop light and laugh to myself because of something Liam would say. Crazy, I know. And maybe you have to be just a little bit in this industry. It’s all imagination, after all. But never before had I realized my imagination could be something others would get a glimpse into.

Letting someone in on your thoughts, in on the made-up stories that inhabit your brain, is a very intimidating thing. It’s exposing and bare. That’s how this whole process feels. Equal parts terrifying and thrilling. There will be people who think it might have been wasted time. But for others, it will provide a temporary escape and a chance to live something other than their daily grind. That makes it worth it. If just one person finds my book entertaining enough to give up their time from their own busy schedule to enter into a world I’ve created, then it’s all worth it.

And that’s why I write.