What inspires you to write books?

Inspiration may not be the correct word.  Even as a child there was the tendency to live inside my head and create elaborate adventures.  As I aged, vivid scenes resided in my mind, interrupting my normal thoughts and extinguishing any possible tranquility I hoped to find.  The only way to completely exorcise those intense feelings was the act of placing words on paper.  Writing a descriptive scene gave it freedom and released the idea from my mind.  Eventually other scenes were created and those also were so compelling I was forced to commit them to paper.  Writing became a mind cleansing exercise that gave me temporary peace.

If an extended period of time elapsed without writing, there was a shadowy annoyance in my thoughts telling me not to watch television or squander time with indifferent pursuits.  The compulsion to write became too strong to ignore until I had no choice but to comply.  Sometimes during the process, words flow so rapidly it becomes impossible to type fast enough to express the thoughts on paper before they evaporate.  It seems I am only a conduit expressing the characters’ words.  At other times writing is a laborious task, but the compulsion to sit and type is too intense to disregard.

The broad concept of writing a book seemed overwhelming, but, in reality, you write one sentence, and then another, and then another, and before long you are deep in the process of weaving scenes together to create a story until the stacks of paper form a recognizable shape.  Your daydreams take on a specific focus and without conscious thought the characters that previously existed only in your head come to life on paper sustained by the words you type.

The more I wrote the more of a necessity it became.  Almost an addiction.  Almost like breathing.  When I fail to write my soul dies a little and my head becomes filled with thoughts demanding release.  Somewhere in this torturous, intense process I was surprised to find a story with vivid scenes that commanded my attention and words with edges so sharp they cut my emotions.  And it occurred to me that during the arduous journey of transforming my chaotic thoughts into a book that perhaps I had been joined by inspiration after all.

  • Jennifer Mills

    It’s really nice for authors to give us greater insight into what makes them write. Thanks so much for sharing this, Mr. Houston.

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