The funny thing about writing is that is “happens” all the time. The putting-down-on-paper, or the capturing of electronic sequences (on a keyboard) is only part of the process. The other parts are seldom spoken about.
No, I’m not talking about research. Sure, writers do research for a variety of aspects of writing but that’s not on the table today.
Writing is a process of allowing thoughts to arise from within one’s own being. Ideas, and plots, and dialogue, color can pop into your mind when you’re doing anything; indeed they often do pop into your mind when you’re doing something else, or something other. They are rarely intentional, any more than any creative act is entirely logical or carefully thought out. Creation is, itself, making order out of chaos. I love this supposed quote from Stephen King. I have no idea if he actually said this but it’s completely in agreement with a lifetime of trying to put words to paper. It’s no good to ask a writer where his/her ideas come from. Ideas are as elusive as smoke, and just as smoke gets in your eyes no matter where you stand around the campfire, there are times that you can’t help that your mind goes to another place — no matter what your body may be doing.
I sometimes wonder what my poor wife thinks as we are driving down the road. For years one of the most profitable sources of ideas has been taking a leisurely drive to anywhere. I go silent and even though my eyes are watching the road and my ears are listening for important traffic signals my brain is somewhere else entirely. She’s understanding, and quiet; she seems to understand that it’s time I need and that I’m perfectly happy and content — but I’m a thousand miles away in a different world.
I’m afraid that my skills in the kitchen are declining. I find that I’m thinking about a topic while I’m cooking. And I forget to do things. Meals come out slightly bland or too salty. Sometimes overcooked, or under. I’m not terrible about it, we still eat well. But I realize that because we aren’t getting out on the highway as much that my brain is finding other times to do it’s thinking — and those times are when my hands are doing something my brain isn’t needed for.
It sometimes seems that for the amount of writing I do nowadays that I spend 5 or 6 days thinking and then I sit down one or two days at the keyboard and put all the stuff that’s been going on in my head down on paper in short order. It’s not easy, it’s not hard, it’s just what has become my process. I don’t think about whether I have something to say, I just say it. And I never worry about whether someone wants to read it, because as I’ve said before writing is how I process the world. It’s just part of who I am. I’m not a great writer. I am just a writer.