Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

A tiny nugget of writing lore from my own little beach

Last night at the Omaha Beach Party, GS, blzblack and I were having a long discussion of writing process and related issues. I said something to GS about one of my personal little epiphanies as a writer, that I needed to trust my process -- in my case, launching into stories with nothing more than a well-turned phrase or a single image, expecting (and experiencing) the journey to a finished piece. GS later emailed and asked me to reiterate my comment writing. Here's what I sent him this morning:

Working on "The Water Castle", I got to a point where I really didn't understand my own story and was becoming afraid that I'd screwed it up, and realized that for me writing is like jumping off a high board before I look to see if there's water in the pool. I just have to trust the process, and launch myself into flight, knowing that someday I will land in grace and beauty.


This probably makes more sense if you realize that I am a deeply subconscious writer. Virtually everything I write is a total hipshot, though I may do a lot of research, planning or explicit prethinking up front. Once I begin keyboarding, I'm lost in the story, wondering what comes next. "Following the headlights", as Bear says quoting E.L. Doctorow.

Update: It's early -- specficrider just pointed out that I'm essentially quoting she and I in our brand new IROSF article anent following the headlights.
Tags: personal, writing
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