Process. It’s that thing we think about as writers, all the time. When we are starting out, we turn to the professionals, wordsmiths who have seen some success and written about that as well – but as The Process, as though their way is The Way. Many, many, many of them say: write every day. You’ll never be a writer unless you write every day.
As a newbie writer, you absorb this advice, you force yourself to put words on a page even if it doesn’t feel right. I tried that, but it was never…well, it was never True. Now that I am on the verge of publishing my first novel and in the depths of editing the second, I realize that my process is not their process. I don’t write every day. I can’t write every day, and not just because it isn’t true. Life gets in the way.
But I think about my stories every day. They play through my mind like movies. I freeze frame and re-position characters, jump ahead in the story to figure out what their motivations should be. I channel their voices in my head, sometimes I start walking like they do. I write down scenes or even lines on scraps of paper and file them away. I research and build the world they will inhabit.
And then, always in the autumn, I start writing. The words flow from me onto paper with an ease not possible during the remainder of the year. Words form sentences, sentences become paragraphs, paragraphs flow into pages and chapters and on and on until that movie I’ve been playing in my head becomes real, something I can share.
This is My Process. I plant seeds and they grow. Then I harvest them.