I had a friend ask me a simple question the other day. He said, “How do you go about writing?” Simple question, but it stumped me. I had to stop and think. Do I have a formula? No. Do I write linearly, like from beginning to end? Sometimes. Do I write the middle of the book, or the end, or the beginning and then piece them together like “cut and paste?” Sometimes. I had to finally answer him, “I don’t know how I write.”
I have some novels and short stories that I have written and re-written over a period of years. And then I have some novels that I turn out in a year. Sometimes I will have an idea for a “surprise ending” and I will write a short story to go to that conclusion. Occasionally I will sit down and write two or three thousand words at a sitting. Some days I don’t write at all.
I used to write articles for magazines and editorials for newspapers for which I got paid a small amount, which I spent. But I have the check framed for the first short story I had nationally published hanging on my wall.
I’ve never stopped to think about how I write. When I try to analyze the process it seems to be different for everything I’ve done. There are periods where I will have to stop in the middle of something and spend three or four days doing research so I can get it right. Other times I have gotten so intrigued by the research that it may turn around the whole thrust of what I am attempting to write. And I come up with a whole new story or book. Isn’t that weird?
So then, how do I write? I don’t know—I just do it. How do you do it?