You think you’re reading one thing then find you’ve delved into something completely different. Like ordering chips in America and getting a bag of crisps, this is probably going to be the same.
I write. That’s it. I put pen to paper and just write. I know how free-writing is supposed tot unclog your creative pipes, and I also understand a lot of writers practise free-writing before getting right down to the hard slog of creating their masterpieces. I’m not one of those.
There are those who plan every single phase and every character with backstory; they know exactly what will happen from one page to the next, one chapter to the next. I am the exact opposite. I sit down in a comfy position, blank lined pad of paper to hand, favourite Stabilo Boss pen to hand… and begin writing. There are no beginnings, no ends, just a constant flow and my brain creates and develops the story. As I go along, I may make side notes on things I need to research and develop, characters I need to revisit and round out (in my own head if nowhere else), places and times and situations that need more thought. But it doesn’t slow me down or stop me. I write and write and write, until I reach the end of the story. Sometimes it will be quite a short story, other times it will go on for hundreds of pages, but I feel I have little to no control over the process. I am merely the conduit. Only once did I dream the story from start to finish and write it out in its entirety, but, like those confusing maths problems that you miraculously solved in a dream, yet ultimately found to be a load of b@ll@cks, there are glaring holes in the story I dreamt and I fear it will take me longer to unravel the tangles and fill in the missing pieces, than if I started from scratch, so the book lingers in my uncompleted folder (a very large folder) awaiting time (and my patience).
Recently, I began typing out a story, not writing, but typing. On a computer. So many authors have told me I was wasting my time writing than retyping and, if I’d just give it a go, after a few weeks I’d find it as easy a slipping into warm water (like giving up sugar). After all, I type out the articles for my blog, so why can’t do it for my stories? I have to stay, typing stories feels like manoeuvring around an obstacle course and I stumble from one paragraph to the next, revising and editing and losing my flow, going back (like reversing over roadkill) again and again. It is beyond frustrating, but I am slowly beginning to eradicate the bad habits that make me stumble; it is not an elegant process and I have had to walk away many times (or my computer would have taken the brunt of my exasperation). However, I am determined to control and conquer this block that prevents the flow from brain to fingers.
I also get distracted by the very fact that I am on the computer. Where before I would make a note to research something, I now automatically go online and do the research, breaking my flow. Then, once I’ve activated my wifi (for my research), notifications begin to beg for attention like recalcitrant 2 year olds, and my flow is suspended once more.
So, if you’re one of those authors who uses one of the tried and tested writing styles (webs, strings, paths, maps, etc.), I envy you the ability and your dedication to the process.