I get asked lots of things by people when I'm out and about, or when they find out that I write. I've decided today, Dear Reader, to go over those few items I get asked mostly commonly...And i know every other writer gets asked these, too, because I've been there when people have asked other writers these same questions.
Question #1 - Where do you come up with this stuff?
Answer - Well, hopefully, this comment is because they think my stuff is so fantastic they can't fathom the depths of creativity my mind can muster...and I hope it's not meant in the "Oh my god! What is this crap?" You know. Every writer is different in how they come up with ideas. I've met tons that see inspiration everywhere around them (playing with their kids, a scene playing out in real life on the neighborhood street, or a beautiful sight that inspires them to no end). I'm different in that most of my ideas come from my dreams. I have some really fantastic dreams that I jot down in a notebook or on the laptop as soon as I possible can after waking. (To my husband's dismay, I sometimes jot these down in the middle of the night, then go back to bed.) The idea rarely stays the same as the original dream (i.e. my inspiration for my fantasy novel Sister Light was only a one line blurb "Beware the Child with the pale blue eyes" scratched out in my notebook and posted to a large bulletin board for future use). The dream always unfolds into something else, however, for me. Once I have a chance to sit down and let the words trickle from my fingertips, the story begans to mold and shape, forming a backbone of its own that I can build the skeletal structure around. (I don't flesh out until after the first draft is completed.)
Question #2 - How can you work on multiple stories at once? Isn't it hard to concentrate?
Answer - Actually, a lot of writers ask me this same thing, so it's not just a non-writer question. My answer is always the same. Simple: I'm a multi-tasker, first. And second? I don't write the stories; they write me!
I'm one of those people who can start multiple ideas at one time. I work on them as long as they demand my attention, and then they are tucked away until I choose to pick them up and really focus on the story.
As in (currently) I have seven story lines started, but I'm only focusing on four of them. There are five more story lines that have been squirreled away for another day, and I have at least ten projects that have stalled on the tracks (so to speak) and will probably be pulled out of the drawer (or my folder on my desktop labeled "Tidbits") and reworked and revised later on.
My other saving grace, other than being a multi-tasker, is that I'm dedicated and decent with time management (only as far as my writing...anything else in life and I'm a train wreck, just ask my family). I know how much time I need to spend writing to dedicate a fair share to each project, and I sit down and just do it. Period. Truthfully, I don't have any more time then anyone else does, but writing feels good, gives something to people, and is what I seriously want to do with the rest of my life. 'Course the money from royalties and the possibility of becoming rich and famous are big motivating factors too!
Question #3 - Why do you write?
Answer - Well, I touched on this briefly a moment ago. Every writer has different reasons for writing. Mine is simple - IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD.
I can't imagine not writing. I've been doing it since I was a child (those are interesting stories to re-read for sheer humility factor), and it's become second nature. Writing has always been a great outlet for me (emotionally, etc.). Also, it makes me feel good when someone reads what I wrote and likes it, telling me about it later. (Of course it makes me feel crummy when they don't like it, but -hey!- whatcha gon' do?)
Also, I'm not going to lie. Writing is successful for many people. You can get rich and famous being a writer. Rich and famous appeals to me. Some people grow up wanting to be rockstars; I grew up wanting to be Stephen King. Writing is also a means to an ends for me; I want to be successful at something I love to do, stay at home and not have to report to a timeclock every morning; customize my work schedule to better fit with my life; and spend time with my head in the clouds...I want to be a writer.
Okay, so those are the three top questions I get asked as a writer from non-writers. For all the writers who do read my blog each day, what are the questions you get asked most frequently?
Separate names with a comma.