Before sitting down to write, I equip myself with a cup of coffee, which I periodically refill when the torrent of words subsides. My creative process consists of gathering far more research material than I need, organizing it by topics, generating an outline, and beginning to put words on paper. I begin every new article by coming up with a point I want to make about the subject, and this guides all of my subsequent research and writing. By having my own take on the subject right from the beginning I avoid sounding too much like other writers who have tackled the same or similar subjects. I always do too much writing and rewriting because I always try to top myself by doing better each time out of the starting gate.
I like to walk with my dog Bonnie in the morning and embrace the day, watch the birds by the river, or the rowers, other dogs including 'Aqua Dog' Bonnie frolicking in the river and on the dog beach. Just watch the day come to life, hear the wind through the trees and open myself to all around me, I do a walking meditation if you like. Sometimes I need total silence to work other times music will inspire me especially if it's a theme relevant to what I'm writing about.
Normally, I have a solid idea of what I am going to write before I sit down. I see a form for the writing before I see the content in many cases. When the form moves me, I sit down and begin. Often ideas will swirl around for years before the right form or envelope appears. I focus a lot on the creative process itself and try to incorporate it into my actual writing.
Most often, I begin researching a subject that interests me. If it clicks inside my mind, if I establish connections to the world around me, I write about it. At age twenty-three, for instance, while in Paris, I read “Vie de Jésus” by Ernest Renan and I used it to write a work of fiction thirty years later.
I usually think a lot about life and things I have seen. I sometimes write outside. I think it gives me that boost of creativity that I need. I like to write fantasty and childrens stories. I usually come up with a character and go from there.
I'm a working mother, so my creative process these days varies from day to day. If I'm at work, I either have a thick stack of paper and a black pen so that I can jot down notes to type up at a later date. If I'm lucky enough to have my laptop, I write things straight onto there.
My computer folders and binders are all meticulously organized into projects so that I can find things easily.
At home, I take my laptop upstairs to the living room where it's quiet, put some music (or TV) on for background noise and write. I'm occasionally interrupted by my children asking for things, but generally I can write for at least two hours a day or more.
The World. I dont plan to write a perfect novel or story, it's basically a flow of what one invidual perceives through out the world.
I don't start any piece of work until I hear the opening lines or paragraph in my head. But I might start a file of notes, ideas, a draft outline, do some character work, etc.
I write very fast first drafts.
Each time I sit down to continue on a piece of work, I read back over a couple of chapters, do more nicking and tucking, using the Comment feature of Word to add some annotations of more in-depth work that might be required on specific sections, then carry on where I left off.
I need at least 90-minutes (preferably 3-4 hours) at a stretch to really get dug in.
If I have less time I do peripheral work - research, plot outlining, character study etc. rather than actual words on the page writing.
I used to write and cancel especially when I was writing a book. I currently have over seven unpublished manuscripts. Importantly you can not write without reading. So sometimes I could start writing something. But in the process I found myself abandoning it after reading something of the same nature and discovered where I was weak.
I find that ideas percolate in the back of my mind for quite a while before they turn into stories. Once an idea takes hold, it usually has a lot of associations around it—themes, characters, plot elements. Still, I won’t sit down to write until the first sentence comes to me. The first sentence can determine the tone of the entire piece, so I never force it. I just trust that it will come—almost always, when I’m not thinking about it—and when it does, I run to the computer to begin.
I do my best work when there's something in my head I need to express, I find myself grabbing my laptop, or a notebook and writing fervently, when I reread what I wrote under those circumstances, there is no editing required, it's like channeling. Otherwise, when I set time aside with the intention of writing, a lot of procrastinating happens, and not much else.
Finding time in my busy day to sit down and put thoughts to paper has only lenghtened the process of completeing this novel
Usually, some form of highly emotional idea, situation, or
event that I have come into contact with in my daily life triggers
the creative process for me. When I am deeply moved by something
my mind begins a series of “what if” questions about what it is that
moved me and why. This begins the process of “seeding” the emotion
content, character feelings, plot conflicts, and the basic story idea that
I believe will reproduce the same emotions I experienced originally in
potential readers. Knowing what kind of impact I am then trying to
cause my reader to experience I construct a series of basic raw outlines
of story idea, plot lines, characters, settings, and conflicts that will
create this initial impact.
The initial idea for a book or a story usually comes either as a single, fully formed flash of inspiration, or as a series of insights that build on each other. The plot for my next thriller - "Fire and Ice" - came from attending a lecture on the use of ESP by the Russians during the cold war, followed by research into the deployment of several Russian submarines armed with nuclear-tipped torpedoes during the Cuban missile crisis.
Sometimes music plays a major part in the process of inspiration - particularly film music, which itself is specifically designed to convey drama and emotion by way of sound. I usually make my own "soundtrack" for each book as I am writing it and use the music to draw me into the details of particular scenes in the story.
When I am writing poetry, the words will just start forming in my head, and I usually am scrambling for paper.
As for short stories, I just sit down and start writing, it figures itself out as I am writing it.