As a writer, I’ve never had much interest in talking about writing. To me it’s like talking about breathing, which is something I do quite well without having to think about how I do it. Of course there are plenty of people out there who are experts on breathing and give classes on how to do it to the maximum benefit. Usually they call themselves yoga teachers or natural childbirth coaches, but what they’re really doing is teaching people how to do something they already know how to do.
I don’t like thinking about how I write, although there are plenty of writers out there who love to dissect the process. They like to have long discussions about outlining, and character development and the latest software to keep track of characters and plot lines.
Not me. I’m a "sit down and do it" kind of writer. I haven’t written an outline since junior high school English class, when we were required to write a major term paper with a detailed outline and notes on 3x5 index cards. As far as I was concerned, it was like getting three separate assignments, each one having nothing to do with the other two, and I was much relieved when I discovered in high school that I could write term papers straight out without the added irritation of outlines and note cards.
I hate outlines and note cards.
Next week I’ll be talking to the Carolina Beach Library Mystery Club and they’ll be asking me how I get my ideas and how I write my books. I’m afraid I’ll disappoint them with my answer, which is that I don’t know where the ideas come from and writing is just cutting through all the excuses and doing it.
My best answer to that question of "How do you write your books?" is a quote from E.L. Doctorow:
"Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing. . . . Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."