As a reader, I enjoy falling into a story. I think we all do. We plunge into the characters and circumstances and feel the love, fear, frustration, and surprise as the tale unfolds. Beyond that, many stories stay with me. I've learned something. I've seen the world from a new perspective. I've connected with a fictional person or world created by writer whose viewpoint necessarily differs from mine.
Do writers have a similar experience as they create their stories? I think that depends on the writer. I know some do. Many of us enjoy that part of the writer's journey, but it's not always easy. One must unleash the muse and have faith in intuition. There are ways to do this. One is to write with abandon—delve into a story, plunge forward into characters and circumstances, do not stop to plot or plan, and trust the collective, hidden parts of your heart and your mind to reveal a direction you have not yet consciously grasped. If you try it, be warned: It does not always work. Thousands of words may (probably will) end up in the scrap heap. When one digs for gold, one finds many buckets of dirt. But keep digging. The nuggets are there somewhere.
One technique that works for many is to write fast. Set a daily word-count goal and meet it consistently, regardless of content. Edit later, not on the fly.
That is one of the benefits of an event like National Novel Writing Month. Participation is free. The idea is to pound out a 50,000-word novel during that 30-day span. Thousands of writers and aspiring writers participate in the event. It takes place every November.
It's not for everyone, but many of us enjoy it. With so many people participating and cheering each other on (word count is published daily, if you enter it, and there are forums and buddy lists, as well as features sponsored by the organizing group), it’s hard not to have fun. The atmosphere is universally positive in my experience, and there isn’t any “real” pressure. You can win (50,000 words by midnight November 30), or not win (less than 50,000 words). I often do not, but either way, I end up with the words I write, which are often the first draft of a story I will develop. There is gold in that bucket, sometimes caked in dirt, but gold I would not have otherwise found.
Isolating the gold, polishing it, and making it presentable, is what comes next. That is editing and rewriting—another part of the journey I enjoy, which we can discuss another time.