I have to clean the space around me first. Eat something and have some tea. Check my mail (and FB and play with my website, which is a work in progress!) and then, when all the distractions have been dealt with, I'll get down to writing, which I find a real meditative experience. I immerse myself in another world. Until about 4, when I suddenly realise I'm starving, when I'll stop for a snack, and maybe a walk. Later on, I might write until well into the night, and then crawl, exhausted and stiff, to bed.
I get ideas from every conceivable source - newspaper and magazine articles, books, tv programs, conversation with individuals, and on and on. An idea has popped into my head while looking at something in a telephone book. Ideas pop into my head at all times of the day and night, via connections to past experiences.
Other than forming ideas, nothing happens before sitting down to write.
I do my best writing at night when everyone else is in bed, mostly late at night or the early am hours. Almost all of book two in my Nytstars series was written in bed on my blackberry.
Typically, I start with a title, a character, and a basic problem. Next comes basic worldbuilding--what time period is this fantasy world based off of, what kind of language will tthe characters speak, what will their homes and cities look like? By this point, my basic problem will have expanded, not unlike kudzu, and it will be my job to trim it down to its essentials. Oh, and theme comes up somewhere in here, too.
Finally, I spend a rediculous amount of time thinking up a good first line--which will probably be changed before the end of the draft--and scribble it on a post-it. Now it's time to apply arse to chair and write!
I never really just sit down to write. With poetry, I am usually in a very open and expanded space and writing down what I am feeling seems like a natural next step. It feels like the softest nudge to anchor it on paper. At times, a word or phrase may come to mind and I will put it down. I love when it just unfolds so spontaneously without my pushing, pulling or forcing! Kind of like it is meant to be and I don't stand in the way.
With articles or pieces that relate to my personal experience, there is usually a catalyst that I feel drawn to write about and in so doing, explore. Most of the time, there is an interaction with my children that creates a feeling of separation and struggle. I am aware that there is something for me to learn. Something that I haven't quite mastered yet. I feel almost like a curious investigator who is now going exploring. So there is a feeling of holding nothing back to get to the truth of the matter.
I usually need to be sure the environment around me is somewhat straight and organized...that way, I'm not distracted by the need to take care of something else in the middle of my writing.
I like to have coffee at my right hand when it's cold and something cold at my right hand when the weather's hot. I also like to have fresh air from the outside while writing so will sit out on the deck, or near a slightly opened window as often as possible...even in the winter.
I love to write in journals, although I do much less of it now-laptops have changed my world!
I am often moved creatively by dramatic music. My first short fiction I wrote was in response to a soundtrack of StarTrek the Motion Picture.
I guess my creative process would be everything around me and day to day life, all up being a caregiver for my husband and mother in-law I guess sitting down helped alot and then I had alot of support from friends.
Everything and everyone around me are an inspiration including a day dreaming imagination.
I tend to write best when I've just read something-- reading kind of gets my gears churning. Sentences, words, and images pop into my head, and I sort of get them down on the page and let them materialize. Often, I end up working till two in the morning because of this predicament of not having solid ideas. I also tend to read late at night, so that might add to it as well.
As to the character creating process, from what I've seen, is just as hard as conceiving a 'physical' child. Just like your child can't ever be you, your characters can't either. Sure, they can reflect some part of you, but they've got to be their own person. And you have to love them just like you'd love your child, maybe even more. I think one of the hardest things for me as I got further into the writing process was having my characters go through some sort trauma, because then I'd feel really bad about it too. I think I nearly cried a couple of times. So yes, my characters and I do share a really tight bond, and I think they're better than any child I could ever physically give birth to in the future.
Writing though, isn't just coming up with a story. It's hard work, and sometimes you have to push through it no matter what, come back, and edit it. And the thing is, no matter how much you might love story, there has to be a first page, a last page, and a pretty darn solid middle. A story might be an idea, but a novel is translating a good amount of that idea into words. I've found that imaging up scenes that I won't include in my novels helps me become closer to the novel and characters, and lets me know them better.
My creative process involves a lot of note-taking. Sometimes, I get more into the planning for a story than the actual story itself. I also do a lot of wandering around and talking to myself about what's going on in a story. Sometimes things work better in my head than they do on paper.
I collect my random thoughts after I'm done for the day. I have notebooks where I jot down what's floating through my head. I also pay attention to what I see, and to what's happening in the world at large. All of that may appear in the next day's writing or none of it might.
I think about it for days and just sit down and bang it out. I correct and innovate as I go along.
I'm lucky if I get my teeth brushed in the mornings before I start writing. I suppose coffee is the only prerequisite. I've written my column every Monday for almost fifteen years, so it's a well-worked muscle. There's not much prep necessary. I really just like to bring a fresh head to the process of any writing and seem to do my best work spontaneously.
When an idea for a story enters my mind, the first thing I do is write down a few sentences describing it. I tend to devote a notebook to one to three separate stories.
I spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks creating characters and jotting down plot ideas.
To design characters, I simply go to a public place, and observe the various types of people walking around. I study these people for a few moments, sometimes even making a small sketch to remember a favorite detail.
As far as plot goes, I try not to create a completely rigid system. I leave plenty of room for new ideas to present themselves.
I usually use outlines. I like to plan out an entire story before writing it. I can write it as it comes to me, but I feel like it comes out better if it's outlined first.
Reviews and articles have kind of a natural flow. You just write whatever comes to you. I've gotten to the point now where most of my stuff has a basic structure, so I try to stick to that.