When I start a novel, there is a hesitation. The book starts with ideas running around in my head, slowly coalescing into a plot, or at least, the idea of how the story will unfold.
That evolves into two or three page document outlined what I think will happen and it sits on my laptop for days or weeks or months while my sub-conscious percolates scenarios, characters, locations, conflicts and all the other things that a novel contains. Note, that while this is happening, nothing is being written.
Then what happens is while I am working out or walking the dogs, I start writing scenes in my head, even down to the conversation between two of the characters. Or, I could be driving down the highway and something about the potential manuscript pops into my conscious from the recesses of my mind.
Literally, I could be anywhere – in a grocery store, standing in line someplace, listening to instructions on an IVR system (the plot is more interesting than the prompts – who knows what.
Sitting down at the laptop is the last thing that happens. Why? Because I know what is coming. The need/desire to write the story is an irresistible force that keeps me planted in my chair. On the creative side, I can go for about four or five hours during which, there are breaks to search the Internet for a name, or a fact to give a scene some context. Often times, the research, assuming I want to be historically/factually accurate causes me to rewrite what I just wrote or change what I was going to write.
I try to write first thing in the day. The force that drives me keeps bringing me back to the computer to write. And then, in breaks I have to deal with things like email, calls to set up vet appointments for my dogs, going to get a haircut, working out, paying attention to my wife. All these things pull me away from the keyboard.
Breaks come only when the creative side of my brain says, I’m done for awhile. When it comes, my brain slows down, I can’t type what is flowing through my brain and the text is terrible. It is time to stop. At least for a few hours.
Does this sound like obsessive compulsive behavior? Probably. I can deal with it but it is hard on the ones around you because you disappear into your garret for hours on end. It is the way of the writer/author.