Neil Gaiman describes an author as someone who stays home and makes stuff up. For me, that’s accurate, to a point.
Is it “me” who’s typing, sorting and inventing scenes from scratch? Evidently, yeah – no one else is in this world right now, pounding cobbles on the wordy path. But it’s also more mysterious than that; there’s an element of taking dictation from the invented universe and it only works when I let it use me.
For example: I knew well in advance something really juicy would happen with The Actor when Amie visits him on location. I knew the general gist of what would go down and that it’s essential to move the story forward. But I had no idea he was going to respond the way he did until the moment I sat down to write it. I mean: I didn’t know he was going to say and reveal exactly what he did or that he was going to spring on her so fast until I was literally one or two words away from that reality emerging from my typing.
It’s not accurate to say I made stuff up – it made itself up through me.
The question for any dedicated artist, writer, musician, etc. is HOW DO YOU KEEP THAT REAL? How do you serve the muse, get out of your own way, and still be the one who’s getting the work done and making it happen?