People can say that gluing yourself to a chair is a most important factor in novel writing. “Write an outline, force yourself to write for a certain number of hours”, they may say. Teachers often like the concept of students putting themselves in boxes and staying within the prescribed outlines. For some writers, this may work. For others, staying within the outline is akin to coloring within the lines. For these folks and I include myself in this group, it is a constraint that hampers the creative experience. It is the wonder of the process that keeps me going —keeps me in awe, keeps the story living. Sometimes I think I know the direction the story will take. I think I am going to write a scene a certain way, but then it does not follow the path I thought it would. I sit down, begin typing and something entirely different happens. Over time I have learned to expect this and I now welcome it. The term for it is flow.
A writer begins to know when it is happening, and it is one of the most exciting things I’ve experienced. I put it up there with giving birth. Well, somewhere near. In a very real sense, writing in creative flow is akin to giving birth. Fortunately, men may also experience creative flow despite the obvious biological inability to give actual birth to a child. Creative birth is open to all, including people who doubt that they have any creativity within them. We are all potentially creative creatures and it is only our own impediments, beliefs, and teachings occurring often in our educational experiences or in our own minds that prevent the realization.
A small example of creative flow from the experience I am currently having with the writing of my novel is as follows: The rescue of my character Rachel from her captor has not been planned but is evolving as I write. This is what I love—how the unplanned evolves into something. It comes out of what has happened previously in the story or out of the character of my protagonist and I have to feel my way. My working title has been Finding Rachel since the beginning, yet I had thought that “finding” her had something to do with finding herself, not with others in the story needing to find her and rescue her. She can also find something in herself, but right now she is being “found “in a very physical sense. I don’t even know why I gave the story that particular working title, but tend to think I was channeling something larger than something within myself when the name came to me.