Just half an hour ago, after three days of pretty serious work leading up to Monday's presentation, I had One Good Idea.
You know what I'm talking about: it's that moment when a whole bunch of the minor ideas that were banging around in your brain like so many confused birds trapped indoors somehow, suddenly drop into place. They coalesce into an idea, which you type out as the first half of a sentence... change where the second half was going... elaborate a bit... go back and slightly tweak the phrasing in the first part... and voilà! An idea! Something that makes it all make sense!
You know, not too far beneath the surface, that your entire paper (chapter, book, whatever) can't rest on this one idea alone. One Good Idea is going to have to be joined by a number of her friends and relations to make the whole thing fly. You know that One Good Idea is likely to undergo a great deal of transformation before paper/chapter/book is finished. Perhaps you even suspect that One Good Idea will eventually dwindle in significance, or even disappear altogether, because that's happened before, as a natural product of a work's evolution.
But right now, you can lean back in your chair with a satisfied half-smile -- maybe even treat yourself to your indulgece of choice: a cigarette, an expensive chocolate, a soothing beverage, or an earlier-than-planned bedtime, guilt-free. Because, you see, you know that you have a direction now. You are no longer aimless. And you're not too dumb to do this. That One Good Idea proves it.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hit the hay a little early tonight.