The process of writing a book is like living with a temperamental teenager. When you sit down at the table with them, you never know what you are going to get. You might encounter joyful exuberance where the words flow non-stop, or you may be faced with sullen silence. Just like with a rotten teenager, I found that the more quality time I spent with my writing, the less it glared at me refusing to budge. The look said I was an idiot for thinking I was a writer.
I’m probably not the first, but I call it my “Writer’s Zone.” The more time I spend in the “Zone,” the easier it is to slip back into it when sitting down at the computer. Writing momentum builds gradually and then when it is at its peak, sustains itself even when not hunched over the keyboard. It is the strangest feeling. I’d walk away to load the dishwasher, or run an errand, or work in the yard, and words, sentences, ideas, or stuff that needed to be edited would come to me out of the blue. I learned to keep a pencil and paper handy to jot things down because if I didn’t, in a flash like fireworks, it would disappear into thin air. But the point is, the more I wrote, the more the writing wrote itself.
The other thing I realized was that I shouldn’t censor my writing during the first draft. If I stopped to edit while I wrote rather than letting the words flow, the writing sounded staccato. I learned to just write, write, and write, let it sit at least overnight, and then do a read-through and rough edit the next day. Plenty of time later to spend hours, after painful hours polishing each sentence, reordering paragraphs, and filling in missing details. Or, maybe slashing whole paragraphs.
So . . . in the bastardized words of Eric Clapton, “Let it flow, let it flow . . . ”