Tuesday, July 5, 2016

When People Ask: "How do you write all that?"

I've often been asked by families, friends, fans and people sharing my jail cell, "how do you write so much?" Then the person goes into how they struggle to write a paragraph, a letter, a note in a card or their papers in high school and college. They don't 'get me' and I don't 'get them' because we view writing in a different way. They see it as difficult or chore; it give me freedom, enjoyment and it comes natural to me. If a non-reader has to find just the right book, I wonder if someone who doesn't enjoy writing has to find the right muse.
I've always written. I filled my unlined journals with stories until my aunt gave me more, I wrote long letters to a pen pal in California for over a decade, I wrote long love notes to my best friend in junior high (until an evil music teacher snatched, read it all the while shaking her head). I've written 40 page research papers, although it wasn't as fun as fiction or social writing.
So far, I've managed to tell you that I love writing but haven't explained how I write so many words, pages and books. I guess loving what I do explains a lot. Once I sit down to write, my fingers move across the keyboard as my thoughts come to me. Rarely, I use an outline. Although having an outline has helped me to stay organized in my writing.
I just write. I'm transported to that setting, in the characters' heads and I just write. Most of the time, I don't know what's going to happen next. That keeps me hooked to keep writing until I don't know what my characters are going to do next or until someone or something in my world stops me from writing. (Usually my dog wants attention or my boss would like me to show up for work.)
I love writing without having to worry about a number of pages or words. It's when I'm limited in the amount of words I can use that slows me down. I get hung up on giving brief descriptions of my book to be put on Amazon or a few paragraphs for the dedication page of my book.
It's the difference between hiking with plenty of food and water with no time constraints versus hiking with little provisions with a place to be at a certain time.
Some people like that kind of writing. One of my kids had the hardest time writing an essay about "What he did this weekend". If you told him to write about his winning goal in soccer,  or about how his dog almost caught a rabbit, that was specific enough that he could be successful.
Now that you and I have come to the end of this post, I'm not sure we have learned anything. I JUST write, I just do it. I have a lot of technique to learn but it comes natural and I'm absolutely in love with it. It's the one thing in my life that has stayed constant.

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