I agree with a lot of people here, especially Mira--I do both, but my writing tends to be better when I'm channeling.
I have been frequently admonished for letting my mind wander (especially in class), but I can't help it. I'm a dreamer. And ever since I started writing, my daydreams tend to be about some scene from my WIP, whether it's a scene that I've already written or--even better--one that I haven't written yet, that comes totally out of the blue. It is because of this ability, this tendency to imagine something totally different than what I originally had in mind, that I am convinced I am for the most part a channeler. It's almost like my characters are working through me, for every single scene that catches me by surprise like this seems to already be crafted around them, catering to their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, without me having to 'fudge' anything at all. Maybe it's just because I've spent more time than is strictly necessary developing each character in my head before actually endeavoring to create them on paper.
Actually, my WIP itself suggests channeling, something along the lines of Sierra's idea:
sierramcconnell wrote:I have to wonder if it isn't someone from an alternate dimension come to whisper in my ear, and I was the only person to not just brush them away as if they were a bug.
It's a little tough to explain it briefly, but the main idea is kind a combination between this and the placebo effect: if enough people believe in something strongly enough, or an event resonates strongly enough with the people of a certain world, their collective thoughts can be projected outward unconsciously, and unconsciously picked up by someone on another world entirely, no matter how distant the two worlds might be from one another. And as the thoughts have no relation to the recipient(s) or their world, they can embrace it and turn it into 'fiction.'
Sounds crazy, right? It makes more sense in context (I hope--none of my readers have had a problem with it yet!).
Now, in answer to Mira's question:
Mira wrote:I am interested - for those who don't feel as though they are channeling - how does it feel when you write?
If I'm not channeling, and being forced to play creator (typically due to lack of inspiration), things begin to get harder. I feel like the guy from Greek mythology who's doomed to push a boulder uphill for eternity. I just...can't...do it. It feels like I'm not getting anywhere, and meanwhile that awesome scene reserved for later dances tantalizingly before my mind's eye. I struggle through as best I can, but unfortunately, when I look back or when others read it, it's rather plain to see. The difference is amazing. Unfortunately, there's no Get Out of Jail Free card--the only way to get better is practice and careful planning.
Oh, and in answer to Margo's initial question: I'm American. I guess I'm just resisting the individualistic mindset, as I'm at my best when 'channeling.'
Sorry for the wall of text. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!