Thursday, September 9, 2010

How I Write

Given that I'm a writer, for years I have spent more time alone in front of a computer than with people in an office chatting at the water cooler, or even gossiping in a social setting. And when I write I don't really see the words on the screen. I actually "see" the story unfolding like a movie playing in my head. My job is to find the words to express what I see fast enough not to lose the image . . . which means that I spend a lot of time staring, seeing something that no one else is seeing. This came home to me the other day when I was on the subway, thinking through plot, lost in my head. When I finally blinked out of the scene I was staring at the person across from me . . . and not the sort you really want to find yourself staring at in a New York City subway. I've lived here long enough not to show any emotion, just shift my eyes away ever so slightly, then start staring at the space next to the guy's shoulder. As if I wasn't intimidated. As if I hadn't been staring at him at all. As if I could care less if he started channeling Robert DeNiro with a slightly altered, "You lookin' at me?" But it has made me wonder if other writers write that way, seeing what is in their heads, and if they do, how do they break the habit of staring!!

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