Such a simple question, but the answer can be very complex. Writing isn’t just recording a story. It’s character creation, setting, plot development, and conflict resolution. Not to mention research, lots and lots of research. The characters become more like friends, and even a simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a question of whether or not Character A would buy fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables. Sounds a little crazy, right?
Even when I’m not putting pen to paper, or actually typing at the computer, I’m still writing. Ideas are constantly going through my head. I can hear dialogue in the voices of my characters. I can see them interacting with others and handling the situations I put them in. I have a difficult time sleeping because I can’t get my brain to stop.
Writing is a very personal process. It takes a lot of time, and ultimately, most writers are writing for themselves. Putting your work out there for others to read is a huge risk. Not everyone will like it, and you worry that you’ll be told it’s just not any good. Or worse, you’ll be told it’s great because someone doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. While it’s nice to receive positive feedback from readers, and even better to be paid for it, the truth is, I would write no matter what. That’s how important the stories are to me.
(On a slightly related note, can we talk about the writing on Sherlock? The first episode of Series 3 left me breathless. Wow. If you’re not watching this amazing show, I highly recommend you try and catch up! You won’t be disappointed!)