Writing is not simply putting words on a page. The process of writing begins somewhere else, and the words on the page are the result of this process. So where does the process begin for me? I’m not actually sure. My first book, The Dashing Debutante, came into being because a funny piece of dialogue popped into my brain, and I built the entire story around this piece of dialogue. The story appeared in my mind, in pictures, and I translated those pictures into words typed on a page. But the story had been germinating in my mind for a long time before that.
Words, thoughts, ideas, fragments of conversations, startling realisations, wise sayings, other writers’ words, interesting concepts, dreams, mind paintings, different philosophies, and the ongoing analysis of relationships, all form part of the process of writing for me. I’m not only writing when I’m seated at my desk in front of my computer. I’m “writing” when I’m standing in the check out queue in the supermarket or reading a book, or when I overhear an interesting piece of dialogue in a coffee shop. I can “write” when I’m at the movies, or when I’m dreaming, or when I’m walking around my neighbourhood or running on a treadmill at gym.
Writers are constantly involved in the process of writing. We live it, and from somewhere in our deep subconscious, and often when it’s least expected, a book will rise to the surface, slowly separating into form, rather like cream rising to the top, separating from milk. And when it becomes substance in the form of words, the process of writing ends, rather than begins, when the words are typed onto a page.