In my ideal world, once I had an idea and a direction for a story it would magically transfer itself from my brain onto a computer screen and make total sense.
(My ideal world is a super cool place filled with that really beautiful leather Marc Jacobs uses to make his purses, unlimited refreshing iced beverages in cups with lids & straws, and Harry Styles.)
(What else could you need? A nice bag, a lemonade spritzer, and a cute tall boy with a British accent and a manbun - life is good, my friends.)
But I digress.
You have an idea for a story, you plan it out, you name your characters and figure out their lives and their motivations and their backstories... And then what? I had no idea.
You just start writing? You wait for inspiration to strike and jot things down quickly before you forget, even if you're in the worst possible situation to easily acquire a pen and paper? Like, say, in the shower? Pens, paper, showers, wet hands - it's not good, trust me.
But when that voice starts talking, that inner monologue, the one that seems to have your characters on lock and knows exactly how a scene should go when you were previously stuck on one sentence for three days - when that voice starts talking I've learned to listen or forever regret completely forgetting the breakthroughs I never wrote down.
So in lieu of some sort of Dr. Seuss-type invention of a dictaphone/transcriber/mind-reader with three hundred knobs and a few twisty-turny bobbles and bells, more often than not I find myself curling up with a lined notebook and pen, taking it back old school style while I try to get my handwriting to keep up with my brain.
I can't force it, I've never been able to, and I can identify every piece I've ever written where I felt like I was phoning it in. It's a necessary evil at times, when you're on a deadline or just out of ideas, but this was different.
If you are writing for yourself, because you must, because you have so many ideas that there isn't room in your brain for one more thing until you let some of them out, the urgency is enough to make you crazy. Why can't they just exit nicely and form single file lines in my Documents folder? Whyyyyy?
I think it's because the story isn't complete until you go through the process - and I both hate and love the process. Writing isn't just having ideas and never changing them, thinking about them, editing them, or staring at them until you see something there that makes sense. It's all of those things in a continuous loop until you start on the next project.
So I go back to my notebook and my pen, because that is the beginning. That is home.