I write in two different ways.
Writing with my head: I know what needs to be done, I know that this scene needs to play out this way, contain these characters, show that scenery. And I write in a way that will accomplish this. However, my writing is slow and labored, and is accompanied with much staring out the window, quick (or not so quick) checks of my email, food breaks, and a general willingness to be distracted by anything and everything that comes my way. I still manage to reach my writing targets when I write like this, but it takes so much longer, and there's always the nagging feeling that I'm missing something. A feeling that becomes readily apparent when I read back through my writing and have a "did I really write this?" moment.
Writing with my heart: Other times, something clicks and I get in the zone, so to speak. My fingers fly over the keyboard, my brain races ahead of me, planning and weaving together all the interlocking strands of writerly wisdom I've absorbed since I began writing and learning about writing (two separate things, for me). I feel the scene, for lack of a better way to describe it. I'm there in the room with the characters, seeing what they see, smelling what they smell, hearing what they hear. And somehow (and this is the magical part) it comes across on paper. When I have one of these "writing with my heart" moments, I can churn out whole scenes one after the other, scenes that are filled with depth and emotion and feeling and showing not telling, and everything else they need to contain. Sure, my writing still needs revision, but it usually requires far less than when I simply write with my head.
And what I find the most amazing (and my CP will be nodding because we had this discussion the other day) is that she can tell whether I wrote a scene with my head or with my heart. It's there on paper, somehow, in black and white. And I'm willing to bet I could give her my entire manuscript and she could point out, with pretty amazing accuracy, exactly which writing phase I was in when I wrote a particular scene.
Of course, I can't turn on these "writing with my heart" moments at will (which really sucks!). Instead, I just keep writing in my plodding fashion, all the while hoping that lightning will zap through my pen (um, keyboard), and I'll start churning out writerly magic one more time. Cause that's when my writing really comes alive. And as a writer, that's when I most come alive as well.
How about you: sound familiar? Have you noticed any difference in how you write from one week/day/hour to the next? Any tips on how you feel the scene, and capture it on paper?