So often writers are asked to break down the writing process and share secrets in workshops and talks but I believe it’s almost impossible to honestly describe the actual process of writing a book.
Sure, there are marker posts along the way – outlines or freewrites or zero drafts etc. Those things can be described and disseminated but the other stuff, the magic, the stuff that really makes you love a book, cannot. Fiction writing is such a mash of influences – the things you’re reading now, dreams, the things you’re struggling with in your own life, every person you’ve ever met, bits of video from Youtube, the breaks you take to read Twitter conversations, the movies you watch at night, the mix of caffeine and green tea in your system, the perfectly timed nap, an interruption by an AAPT salesperson, and all the other happy and not-so-happy accidents.
Even a piece of chocolate eaten at the right time in the afternoon can stimulate the writing of a chapter that never would have happened without that half Cherry Ripe. (Thanks, Cadbury.) It is truly a mysterious process and I will continue to talk about writing and try to share thoughts with kids and emerging writers but, really, it is unbreakdownable, the truth of what happens on that journey.