For anyone and everyone who writes - whether you do it purely for pleasure, as a profession, or somewhere in between the two - how you write can be nearly as important as what you write. Primarily because the how can so great affect the what.
Have I confused you? It's writing, right? Just words on a piece of paper or on your computer screen. Thoughts that move from your mind, through your arms, out your fingers and to the page. Simple. But no, it's not. Not always.
Some times it can take all day to get just one sentence written down. Other days the words just pour out of you and it's more difficult to stop that it would be to just keep going. Like in anything else, there are good days and bad ones but it's how you deal with it, how you cope, how you work around obstacles and through ideas that make you a better writer. Those words, as important as they are, are only as good as the idea that forms them.
I was chatting with Laurel Kriegler (@pegasus_za - follow her on Twitter!!) earlier today about just this concept. We were talking about how we use our daily experiences and our observations of the world to feed our writing. What we see, hear and live becomes fuel for our imagination to then create something, maybe entirely different, out of it. For example Laurel wrote a very short story based on the rescue of the Chilean Miners earlier this week. (You can read her brief story "They've got one out!", it appears on her blog The Quarzite Columns.) But that's only one way to come up with story ideas. As I've mentioned often, my ideas come primarily from my dreams and Laurel agrees that dreams can be a very effective medium for mining story concepts.
I told her that sometimes we just write what we know but she made an important correction to my statement. She said that we write what we know and then modify it.
At the end of the day every writer's method is slightly different, just as everyday that same writer's method may differ slightly. We have to use what works best for us at any given time. If you write fantasy or paranormal's you may focus on dreams for your ideas, but the characters in your story are still living (unless of course they aren't...) and so incorporating aspects of the everyday-world is important too.
So where do you get your ideas from? Do you look around you and see something ordinary and know that you can make it something extraordinary in a story? Do you hear your characters in your head, demanding that you share their life with others? Do you dream of a world entirely different than the one we live in and use it as a basis for your writing?
How do you write?