Creative Writing Process
The creative writing process is not something I worry about much anymore, although my prior fixation with it used to torment me.
Other people were the "real writers," while I could only piece together a story by luck, and even then the result wasnt a "real story" but only a poor version of what I had
hoped to accomplish.
When I finished my first novel, I felt such overwhelming relief that I broke into tears, amazed that the book finally had a beginning, a middle, and an ending.
Beginnings were, and are, no problem for me. I used to start a story twenty different ways, and I'd still get lost toward the middle. I won't even discuss endings at the
moment, except to say that a good ending is no easy feat and still gives me grief.
Combine the difficulty of writing a complete story with the fact that many people can dash off a rough draft of a novel in a few weeks or months, and you may understand
why the whole process left me feeling more than a little inadequate. But those quick drafts are no more ready for publication than my partial ones, and I've noticed that
writers tend to be either wizards or fiddlers.
The word wizards get a first draft out quickly, but they agonize over the necessary revisions. The fiddlers agonize over the first draft but can polish and buff a text
until it is a thing of beauty. I've also heard of writers who enjoy the whole writing process with no agonizing whatsoever. Most of them bring to mind the words of Samuel
Johnson: What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. The rest cause me to feel as I do upon hearing that someone else won the $20 million
I now understand that the writing process is personal. Real writers write, and they don't give up until they succeed. It does no good to worry about the progress of others. We all
proceed at our own pace, and if someone else writes better, she may be more talented, or she may only have learned more or practiced more. Either way, its her writing process. Ours is
as we make ittortuous or not.
I've made a decision not to agonize anymore. Every story, and every book, develops from scenes placed in order according to cause and effect. When I write enough strong
scenes and place them in the right order, a book is born. I focus on creating one scene at a time, without worrying about anything but that one scene, which makes writing more
enjoyable, and often a pleasure, as it is difficult to feel overwhelmed by a single scene. Good writing will always require work, discipline, and perseverance, but it needn't
be an act of forbearance.
Plan as best you can, but have faith in your subconscious ability to create order out of chaos, and something out of nothing. Read, observe, think, write, revise. Focus
on the scene at hand, and a story will emerge.