This week’s quote comes from E.L. Doctorow, a well-known American author of historical fiction.
I can really connect with the analogy that Doctorow makes here; writing, for me, is very much like driving at night in the fog – it’s both dark and bloody hard to see more than a few feet in front of you. Having limited vision of the road ahead means that one has to take more care and concentrate on where it is that they are going – the same can also be said for the process of writing.
Sometimes I will start a piece and only have a vague idea of where it is that I want it to go, perhaps only a few feet or steps in front of me. At the time, I have no idea of the destination and only know that my imagination will somehow take me there through a myriad of twists and turns. I don’t know exactly what lies ahead and can only see a few yards in front of myself, but this is OK as I have faith that my subconscious will take me where I need to go and as long as I keep my concentration I can’t go too far wrong.
Writing a novel-length piece of work is both daunting and exceptionally hard work. I know that I for one do not have more than a vague idea of where I want a story to go. Some folks like to plan out every detail in advance and then write their chapters around that set plan, but for me that doesn’t work. I may have an end goal in mind but how I get there is left up to my subconscious and the way they subsequently control my fingers on the keyboard.
Some writers have a map of their story but I prefer to take a walk off the beaten track and leave myself open to surprise at what my mind may come up with. I can’t write with no idea as to what I want to write about but if I only see the next couple of steps in front of me then that is fine by me – I can make this journey a few steps at a time and enjoy the scenery along the way!