Kristin Cashore, who is one of my all-time favourite writers (check out her books, Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue, and you will be blown away by her beautiful, lyrical, and incredibly well thought out writing, not to mention her amazing characters) has written about her writing process on her blog.
This is part of what she says about her writing process:
“I sit in an armchair.
“I spend a lot of time staring into space.
“I talk to myself.
“I walk from the living room to the bedroom in search of something specific and by the time I get there I’ve forgotten what I was looking for.
“When people knock on the door, I hide. When my phone rings, I yell, “Oh, who the hell is bothering me now?!” and don’t answer.”
I laughed when I read that. Mainly because I do the same myself.
I can’t claim to have written anything as awesome as what Kristin Cashore has written (and published. Oh, oh, to be published one day!!!). But sometimes I spend a lot of time just lying in my bed or walking around the house, thinking out plot lines, characters, world-building, or just trying to figure out what’s going to come next in the story, how I was going to get my characters out of whatever tangle they’re in right now.
A lot of the time, I start researching something or other on the Internet and I get caught up. I get distracted by yet more interesting things, start clicking on more web pages, and before you know it, two or three hours have gone by and I haven’t written a word.
And I feel guilty. Because I feel I really should be spending this precious time writing. Writing! Getting things down on paper (or, in my case, on the Microsoft Word Document).
Don’t rush the process
But you can’t rush the writing process. Sometimes you have to think things out in your head. And research is always great for writing – lots of research. Research well and write well – or even just research to broaden your mind, your general knowledge, and your perspective of life. Read books, read blogs and websites, read Wikipedia! Watch movies, go out and talk to people, visit museums and galleries, go to concerts. Draw inspiration from the world around you and channel that into your writing – and for that, your writing will be so much richer and more authentic.
And don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid of doing nothing for a little while (if you’re doing nothing all the time, however, then that’s when alarm bells should start to ring). Sometimes, some of my best ideas come when I’m lying in bed, one arm over my eyes, just thinking. Then I fall asleep and have really awesome, action-movie-style dreams which often help me with my ideas about the plot for my story. And I wake up three or four hours later to find that I’ve fallen asleep with the lights on, my laptop in sleep mode and my make up still on. Bleeeurgh.
(Try to) meditate
I also work out some of my best ideas when I’m brushing my teeth or washing my hair. And also when I’m running. Definitely when I’m driving (especially with where I currently live, because it’s as if I’m in LA and it takes half an hour to get anywhere). And even when I’m lying on a mat after Body Balance class and we’re all suppose to just close our eyes, empty our mind, and let go and just be. I’m usually disobedient – instead of emptying my mind, I’d be thinking, “Okay, there should be horses involved in this story. Lots of horses. Wild horses! Mm… that music playing right now is very Lord of the Rings. Enya. Wild Irish horses!”
I really should work harder on my meditation process… 🙂