When I started writing novels, I don’t think I was aware of what I was doing. I certainly didn’t do it for fame or fortune, for notoriety or notice. It was a compulsion, something I simply had to do. That’s hard to explain to people who don’t write, I suppose–but perhaps we all have things in our life that work that way, talents or compulsions or what have you that materialize out of nowhere but stick. It’s a strange habit, and a solitary one (although I did write two books with cowriters when I was really young).

Sometimes, when I feel in the doldrums, or–like recently–I have so many novel ideas sloshing around in my head I can’t make sense of it all, I sit back and think like a kid. You know, when I was twelve and writing, it didn’t matter who liked what I read, or how clever I had to be. I wrote from the deepest, most intensely passionate part of me, without a filter, for the pure, unadulterated joy of it. I was prolific. I was dedicated. I, of course, sucked. But I was telling stories, building worlds, and escaping the harsh realities of my own life into a multicolored palette of sheer fantasy.

And reminding myself of that, well… it helps keep me focused. It helps me to remember that this gift, or what have you, has been with me as long as I could string enough paragraphs together to make a chapter. And even a little of that passion, that drive, and that wonder–well, it goes a long way, doesn’t it?