I don’t know how it is for other writers, but sometimes I fall into a headspace where I “forget” I’m writing, and the klackity of the keyboard, or the faint crruuu-cruu sounds my pen makes scrabbling against paper just blend into the story-consciousness. The words are happening in my head, and my body can auto-pilot well enough that they appear on screen/paper without me having to be aware of the progression. That is an awesome thing, and I attribute it to thinking about my stories so often that I know all the important parts and they can just come flying out of me as fast as my hands can keep up.
Sometimes, a scene will come to me, or a snippet of dialogue, and I will find the nearest slip of paper and pen (one is usually clipped onto my necklace; yes, writing is an obsession) and write it down for later. Certain ways of wording something can only be written THAT WAY once, and if I lose it, I might never get those exact words back again. Some people might think it’s not a big deal, or if it were so great, how could I forget them? Frankly, my brain is full of too many ideas, and if I don’t physically catch them when they overflow and fall out of me, they might drift off into the aether. That’s just the way of things. Scenes, stories, plot points, I can turn all of those over in my mind enough times to make them stick, but not always so for those flashes of brilliance.
On the other hand, there are times when I am fully aware that I am writing. I have to systematically work through a setting in my mind, often with mumbled descriptions and hand gestures as I work out the spacial layouts, or figure out how to describe a certain movement. This is when my words are building blocks which I am carefully placing one by one to try and fashion a story. I am lucid and actively participating in the creation as I work through it.
I find that editing a manuscript straddles the line between the two. I read through my work, fully engrossed in the scene until something jars me out of it; the trigger that makes me stop and say, “hey, wait a minute…”, and realise that something needs changing. Then it’s a question of whether I’m able to pour out all the right ideas without thinking about them, or if I have to consciously craft the fixes.
The worst is when I have an obligation to work on one project, while the beautiful inspiration for another is ready to bubble over. Usually, I go the way of “artist”, and let the story with the ideas take what it needs, rather than play at being “responsible” and trudge through my work. To do anything else feels like I’m trying to pretend to be one person, do the “right” things for that life, but all the while speaking with someone else’s words, stolen and re-purposed to suit something they were never intended for. Yo ho ho, a writer’s life for me.