I was thinking it would be interesting to do a series of posts in the next week or so about my writing process. (and the great thing about having MY blog is that if I think it's interesting, I can do it.)
It's fascinating to me to see the differences in the writing process of successful authors. Stephen King locks himself in his office and writes for as many days as it takes to finish the book (usually 2-3). If you've experienced the size and complexity of his novels, this is completely mind-boggling. Of course, I'm sure it's a rough draft and he does a lot of editing and polishing but - still.
Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb approaches her writing like it's her job - she writes from 8-5 Monday-Friday and she does 3 entire drafts of each book. Celeste Bradley lets a book run around in her head for weeks until she can clearly hear her characters and see the story arc and then she writes each scene, later putting them in the order that works for that novel.
I write novels, poetry, and songs and my approach to each is different but there is one key element to all of my writing: an idea or emotion that grabs my attention and blooms into something larger than life.
I don't need much of an idea to get started. A spark of something that speaks to me, inspires me, captivates me, or upsets me is enough. I use that small piece of emotion or that speck of an idea as a springboard to more.
For example, when I write songs, I often start with a single phrase or an isolated emotion and then explore it/experience it with words. I know right away if I can write about it or not. For me, my songs either pour out in less than 20 minutes or they never happen at all. There is no rough draft, starting and stopping etc. Either I am captivated and it all flows, or it dies.
My song lyrics tend to seem extremely personal, sometimes dark, sometimes painfully honest. Sometimes that really is an accurate reflection of me. Often it's only a piece of something in me (or something that was once in me) that I use to translate the original idea/emotion that grabbed me.
Trying to understand me and know me through my collection of lyrics is as useful as trying to see how my life mirrors Alexa's. Some of them are pieces of my soul on paper. Some of them having nothing to do with me beyond the initial spark of emotion.