I’m asked frequently how I come up with my characters, stories, situations, etc. My answer is usually, “Oh, you know, stuff.” Because I can’t explain it very well. It’s just there. The ideas form for various reasons, and the characters just appear. The things they do just happen. I have no logical explanation. It just is what it is. There is a constant movie playing in my head. Sometimes the actors change, and sometimes the plot changes, but it’s there. The voices, the colors, and the sounds play on a loop. Sometimes I sit down and let them out. Most of the time I have to record and save them for later and hope like hell they don’t get deleted by my faulty brain.
I had a discussion with friends recently, where we talked about our “process” and then we moved on to unsupportive spouses and family. I’m lucky, because my loved ones are supportive of my writing. Sure, my spouse wishes I’d clean a toilet now and then, but he’s not jealous of the time it takes me away from him, and he wants to see me succeed. Of course, he’d love to see some cold hard cash rolling in as a result of these things I keep publishing, but he gets that I love what I do and he would never take that away from me.
But not all spouses, family members or friends look at the bigger picture. They see you, their loved one, depressed about rejections. They see you spending hours at a project that returns almost zero rewards (to the outside world at least) and sometimes they get a little jealous. Why would you want to spend hour after hour in front of a computer screen, hating yourself and what you’ve written, instead of spending it with them?
Perhaps if everyone who isn’t a writer understood what goes on inside the mind of an author, they’d be more supportive, because they might get the hard work and dedication it requires. So, I’m going to let you all inside my head. Maybe it’ll help your loved ones see that you’re not hopeless (or at least not as hopeless as that Miller chick). Buckle up. A couple of hours inside my head is about to begin:
I’m going to write all the shit today. Totally going to write it. All of it… I’m gonna be all…
*stares at screen*
Maybe I’ll just look at what I wrote yesterday first. Get the juices flowing again. God, I hate that word. Juices… juice… juicy… ju-see… moist. Hate moist more. Mo-iiii-sss-t.
Poor E.L. James. People are dicks.
Then I again, I wonder how she got where she is. Depressing. If that’s what readers want, then I’m up shit creek without my paddle and stuff. I’d never even try to paddle a boat in the first place. Definitely not through a creek of shit. Stupid saying. Stupid people.
*back to blank page*
I should write something about a writer who loses her mind. Has that been done before? Hmm. Yeah, it has. Something else. Someone else loses their mind and kills people. Or maybe not. Maybe someone just loses it and ends up spiralling out of control until he or she dies.
No. That’s dumb. I’m dumb. Well, not dumb. I’m procrastinating. Never get anywhere if I keep doing this.
What if I never become famous? Fame is overrated anyway, so I don’t care. I just want the money—no, the fans. I want the fans. Okay, I do want to be famous. Not stalker-killer-fan famous, but at least fifty to a hundred Amazon reviews famous.
For every book. Yeah…
Oh, right. Reading yesterday’s work. This is good. Well, it’s not fantastic, but it doesn’t suck. Well, okay, that part sucks.
I could use it later, though. It might work in that other book.
*clicks curly arrow thing*
No, I should just delete it.
Now that line is brilliant. I should share that on Facebook… but it doesn’t make sense without the whole paragraph.
*copies paragraph and pastes into Facebook status*
*Stares at status update.*
No, it kind of sucks now. Forget it.
*deletes Facebook status*
No. I’m writing today. I’m doing it. Forget Facebook. Forget all the things. Just write. Something. Anything.
*drifts into daydream*
It’s dark in here, Mommy. Why aren’t there any lights? I’m so cold and alone. You can’t write about a kidnapped child. Too cliché.
Dangerous, sexy, god man. Mmm. What’s he doing? Nothing but being sexy. He’s useless to me. I’ll save him for the shower.
Dark warehouse. Guy is… cutting something… no he’s… not a guy. A girl! He’s a woman. Cutting something. Cutting… why are they always cutting? Why can’t they do something more interesting?
I’m ridiculous. No one will read that stuff. It’s already been done. I could put a secret plot in there, or weirdness, everyone likes weirdness… maybe some kinky sex… wish I’d thought of an abusive sex god boyfriend like E.L. James did. I’d have to kill him off, though. No one likes an abusive boyfriend, even if he is good in bed. Not that Christian Grey was good in bed. Maybe he was, but evidence suggests he was just mean and bossy. Although, orgasms on command. Awesome…
I see why she is where she is. It’s like an epiphany. Still depressing.
I’m wasting time. No more reading. Just writing. I am a professional for crying out loud.
*scrolls to bottom of document*
I’m going to write a scene. Just one scene. Then I’ll wash the dishes. Or watch Netflix. I love Netflix.
Yeah… so this guy is going down. Not literally down. He’s going down in the bad way. But how? I can’t believe I didn’t outline this shit better. I’m terrible at this. If anyone finds out how truly awful I am at writing…
Oh! An email!
Crap. Just Amazon suggestions. Sigh. Back to writing.
*types a line, then deletes it and types another*
Oh, that’s good. It’s passable.
*types a few more lines. Idea appears.*
Better jot that down for later, because I’ll forget it.
*makes note and continues typing*
I’ve written20,000 words already. Why is a simple 500-word scene so hard? I hate this book. Hate it. Haaaate. Ugh. I’m so pathetic. And hungry. Wonder if there are any Pop Tarts left.
*email bleeps again*
Oh! Another email.
It’s from the agent I queried when I was twelve. Wow, he got back to me fast.
I don’t want to open it. But I have to or I won’t know. He’ll reject. They always reject. This one might not, though. All answers are a no unless you… what was that quote? I don’t know. Fuck it.
“I’m sorry but….”
Sigh. Another rejection to add to my sad pile. I’m just going to do this one on my own anyway. I don’t know why I always send queries. It’s like… stupid.
*dies a little inside*
I better cheer up before anyone sees me wallowing in silliness. It’s just a rejection. Not personal.
Hate that agent. Must remember to unfollow him on Twitter. That’ll show him. Cocky little prick.
But back to writing.
Why did I put that guy there? If he’s going to be there, then he can’t be where I need him for the next scene. I’m going to have to fix that. Later. I’ll make a note for now. No time to stop. The juices are flowing.
*hour of silent typing*
I need to read this before I do anymore. It’s probably not even usable. God, it’s like, I can’t even wipe my own ass some days.
Wow. That doesn’t suck. I deserve a reward. Netflix. Then maybe more writing, because I’m on a roll. This is going to be the best book yet. The BEST. I’m so awesome.
*goes to investigate Pop Tart situation*
Yeah. Authors are terrified, self-indulgent, masochists, but we’re also optimists. How twisty is that?
The next time the important people in your life make you feel like you’re wasting your time with this writing thing, or they question why you beat yourself up so much, try this. Let them inside your head. Be honest about why you do it and how important their support is to you. If they don’t try to understand or continue to make you feel bad about it, then ask yourself why you’ve given them the honorable title of “important,” because they certainly haven’t earned it.