Process, oh Process

“I have more ideas than I’ll ever have time to write,” is something I hear a lot from other writers.  I’ve always been embarrassed by the fact that I don’t. 

On a rare occasion I might get struck by an idea lightening — and that’s how it usually is for me: an unexpected bolt out of the blue that sends me straight to the keyboard or the notebook.  But, those moments are really quite unusual.  I’m not bursting with things to write about all the time. 

 For a while I thought maybe I was just duller than my fellow writers, and I nodded politely when everyone talked about all the ideas zipping around in their heads.  But, I had an epiphany about my own process the other day that made me feel a lot better about this whole thing. 

Every night when I sit down to write another page of my novel, it’s improv.  I don’t really know what’s going to happen on a page by page level  –oh, sure, I have that outline/proposal I wrote to sell the thing, but that’s sketchy and very much “big picture.”  I know where I’m going at the end, but I have no idea what I’m going to write tonight.  I think my brain saves up its idea generation for that desperate clutching I do when I’m staring at the newest blank page.   So, I’m actually generating new ideas all the time.

That’s my theory anyway.

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  1. 1. tami

    well however you get it out, your books rockz!!!

  2. 2. S.C. Butler

    I do it the exact same way. My best ideas come while I’m sitting at the keyboard wondering what I’m going to say next after producing twenty pages of drivel. And then, Aha! But with me it’s more like riding my chariot in triumph through the streets of Rome than lightning.

  3. 3. Esther

    I’m one of those people with too many ideas to have time to write. I think I would rather have things come while I’m sitting and typing, however. I get ideas all the time and sometimes I forget them. Other times they just stew in my head for weeks before I find the time to write them down. I suppose the important thing is that we have ideas, not really how the ideas come to us.

  4. 4. Ryan

    This is exactly what happens to me! I’ve tried creating detailed outlines and story arcs for stories before I sit down and attempt to write them, but it only makes me want to go do something else and put off the actual writing.

    It’s only when I approach the laptop with a blank mind and start to really get into the story – living it out moment by moment, as I write it – do I get my ideas. Half the time I don’t even know what I’ve written until I go back and proofread/re-write it.

  5. 5. cyn

    thank you for this. i’m not full of ideas, either.
    the ones who are make me envious. but a lot
    of then have 12 novel ideas and never finish
    one.

  6. 6. Bran fan

    Gosh, and I thought I was the only one! This is a huge relief. I’m always terrified that the well is going to go dry one day, because the waters don’t seem very deep down there…. But the way you see it makes sense. Show up at the page, and the ideas will come.

  7. 7. michael hughes

    umm, it’s “lightning.”

Author Information

Tate Hallaway

Tate Hallaway is the best-selling paranormal romance alter-ego for an award-winning science fiction author. Her most recent novel is DEAD IF I DO is forthcoming from Berkley Trade in May of 2009. Visit site.

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