I like reading how other authors work. Listen to a famous author tell of his day.
Could you say something of this process? When do you work? Do you keep to a strict schedule?
When I am working on a book or story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and you know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.The Paris Review, Issue 18, 1958
Doesn’t he make it sound like a magical, wonderful process?
It can be. It often is. Other times, for me, writing is like trying to swim in peanut butter. I struggle through a sticky mess trying to find a rock, a bit of shore..something…anything that is clear and solid. Bits of ideas try and make it to the surface. When they do, they are often fragmented and chipped and bear no resemblance to anything solid. It’s a magical, scary, frustrating part of my writing when the story is stiff and unwieldy and when I wonder how, in the past, I ever got from a beginning idea to a fully formed story.
It’s times like this that encouragement about my writing is valued the most.
Someone tells me they enjoyed a book. Or I read a good review. Or I get copies of a new release. This week I did indeed receive copies. Not of a new book but one in which I have a story reiussed.
This book will be on the shelves soon. I guess it proves (to me) that I can somehow, with perserverance, figure out how to shape this current mess into a story.