I don’t write my books. Yes, those are my hands typing. Yes, those are my eyes aching from staring at the screen for 10+ hours a day. Yes, those are my wrists with sometimes crippling carpal tunnel from writing just shy of 1,000,000 words every year.
That said, I don’t write my books.
That makes no sense, right? But it’s true. I don’t sit down and say “Okay, I am going to write a book. Who are my characters? What are they like? What do they do?” This. Does. Not. Happen. For. Me.
I get asked a lot about my writing process and how I come up with ideas for books.
The simple answer is: I don’t.
There is no conscious process for me when it comes to characters. I will be chopping up veggies for dinner and all a sudden there is someone in my head going “Hey, you, it’s my turn for a book now.” And this person comes to me fully formed. They have an appearance, they have traits, they have flaws and desires and goals and hopes for their future. But THEY come to ME. I don’t CREATE them.
That sounds woo-woo, right? And I guess it is.
I like the phrase “Big Magic” for it. But I can’t claim that term. That was coined by the very talented Elizabeth Gilbert in her book of that name.
Writing, for me, is magic. It is something that I can’t explain, something outside and inside of me somehow at the same time. It is a magic I was born with. It was the same magic that had me talking to imaginary friends well past the acceptable age. It was the same magic that had me buying endless notebooks in elementary school when my mom brought us to the dollar store because I wrote through all of them. It was the same magic that had me flipping up my textbooks in middle school and jotting down stories instead of paying attention. It is the same magic that courses through me today. It has always been there, a huge part of me, something I would feel empty without. I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make sense on a logical level. But that is what book writing is for me.
It’s Big Magic.
I am just a conduit for it. I am the body through which the story gets put on paper. But where that story came from? Who made these characters? That is anyone’s guess. Believers call this God or The Universe. Those who don’t believe are likely starting to worry I have an undiagnosed mental illness (in that case, I think I can officially claim I have the Mental Illness Party Pack. Yay?) But whatever it is and wherever it comes from, I am really glad it exists, and that I get to be a part of it <3