Writing is a major part of my life and I talk about it a lot. I speak on writing panels at SF conventions. I run two workshops at cons, about how to start, and about how to plot. I have posted to my Facebeek page about how I work, and the things I’ve learned, and I’ll be reworking some of those to be included on my Books page, which is not yet brought up to date. I love to talk to people at conventions, to help those who want to write get started, and to encourage them to do so. I have read over 120 books on writing and authorship, about a dozen of which I have found useful, a few of which I have thrown away. But the most important thing I learned was from writer autobiographies, who tell how they did it, not how to do it. And that is that every one does it differently.
It is demanding, it is frustrating, and sometimes it is disappointing. Some of the people who take my workshops decide that they don’t really want to become writers after all. And that’s fine, their energies are better spent doing something more satisfying and rewarding.
But when I succeed, I have created something out of nothing, just a spark of an idea which is completely intangible. From that spark comes a world, people, events, desires, all of which seem so real to the person reading it, that for a little while the reader loses track of the real world.
After all that effort of creation, I had to take some time off. Maybe a year, or a month, or a day — or an hour. And then a new spark comes and, despite all the hardships of the last time, I do it all over again.
Writing fiction is part craft, part art, and part dream. The recipe is never the same twice. It is a skill that can never be mastered, because with every story, you learn something more. It brings joy, and frustration, and sometimes despair. But the thought of giving up is intolerable, because every story is an act of true creation.