When I am finally done with a story, I am done with it. At that point in time, is has gone from concept to completion and, due to my way of editing, it has been a grueling process, one lasting anywhere from a few weeks to months depending on how difficult the editing has been.
I love the first part of the story writing. It starts the same for me as with any writer, I think. The idea comes to me from nowhere. Not exactly true, of course. I read. I write. I watch the news. I do all the things necessary for the idea to come but it must come to me. I can’t go out and manufacture an idea. I have never written a good story when I told myself I was going to write about X. The good story comes when the idea just shoots into my head like a thunderbolt, complete with enough details to write it. I know how the story is going to flow, what the beginning middle, and end need to look like and, more importantly, the twist at the end. It can take several days after completing the last story to months for the next idea to come, but when it does finally come, I am like a little kid with a new toy. I can’t wait to get to my computer and start pounding the keys.
It is a feeling like no other. I am sure those of you who create on any level will understand. I get to my writing room, start a fire in the fireplace (yes, even in the summer) and go to work. Only it is not work. It is a high like no other. The ideas and thoughts in my head are at one with my fingers. I am a terrible typist as a rule, but during this time, I will put my skills with anyone. I don’t make mistakes. My fingers rarely miss the keys. During this time, I can close my eyes, see the story in my head, and my fingers will work as commanded. I typically write one to three hours a day. Depending on the length of the story, I will complete the first draft in a week.
Here is where the fun starts to wane. The most horrific words for any writer must be writer’s block and editing. True writers fear one (writer’s block) and dread the other (editing). I am not one to pour over my work and make notes. My preferred form of editing is this. I print the story onto paper, put the written words up in front of me, and write it again. I write the entire story from front to end. When I go through it the second time, if the warm feeling is not there, I write a third time. Maybe a fourth time.
By the end for that process, I might have spent two to three months with the same story, the same ideas, the same characters. Like a marathon runner, I start with a good pace, keep going when the it feels like the keys on my computer are made of concrete, get bogged down towards the end, and trip across the finish line, exhausted and elated the whole thing is complete.
After that, I take a deep breath and wait for the next idea to come so I can start the process all over again. I do all of this knowing I wouldn’t give up this ability, the gift, this course, if my life depended on it.
Thanks for listening and, please, tell me your story.