The Japanese have a word for it: saku-taku-no-ki.

Saku – the special sounds a mother hen makes tapping on an egg with her beak.

Taku – the sound a chick makes tapping from within.

No-ki – the moment the tappings come together.

Saku-taku-no-ki – the instant a chick pecking on the inside and the mother pecking on the outside reach the same spot. The egg cracks open. New life emerges.

In just that way a story begins, with a physical tapping on the outside . . . and then the answering emotion that taps within . . . . The moment they come together, the story starts.

– Jane Yolen,
from “The Mystery That Is Writing,”
an essay in the book, Take Joy

Take Joy was a collection of essays by the gifted, versatile, decorated writer Jane Yolen, a work that I acquired for The Writer Books when I was acquisitions editor there. It’s full of insight on the daily delight and uplifting aspects of writing, rather than dwelling on the agony and challenges that fill so many books on the craft. Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft was later republished by Writer’s Digest Books. I also recommend Yolen’s journal, Telling the True, for more insights about the writing process.