I’ve met and chatted with scores of authors and been to dozens of writing conferences and residentials in the course of my career and it strikes me that there are two kinds of writers.
Some writers start from the dreaming, intuitive mind, which creates spaces and populates them with an easy natural flow, and they don’t try to take control of the idea until it’s virtually fully formed in their imagination.
This can be a long process – it sets its own pace, and the author’s task is to watch and wait, and be willing to explore all the paths that open up, and see where they might lead.
This way of writing is rooted in a long period of gestation, when nothing appears to be happening and nothing seems to be achieved, but once the writing stage is reached it tends to come quickly and relatively easily.
Other writers work in a more methodical way, starting with a basic idea and building it up one block at a time. For this kind of writer, fixed work-times and word-counts can be a useful tool, keeping them focused on the task from beginning to end, and the writing progresses at a steady pace.
Either way works, depending upon the writer’s personality. You can find out more about your own natural style by doing the Myers Briggs Personality Types Indicator test.
Culturally, we value the practical, rational approach and mistrust the intuitive, which can mean that the more intuitive type of writer may undervalue the patient pondering stage which is part of their own process.
I write for those writers, to honour and celebrate their way of writing, where that long period of daydreaming, rambling, chatting, reading is as much a practical part of the work as sitting at the computer, producing words.
Which kind of writer are you? Is your process a slow daydreaming and a rapid writing, or a steady progress from start to finish?