Writing is a craft. It’s not a mystical state. It’s not a single emotion. It is craft. I like to think of it is as a great tennis player. Agassi did not have a great forehand. Agassi had 100 great forehands, each of which he has mastered by repetitive work. Because he’s trained himself so well in each of those different forehands, the forehand presents itself to him without thought as the perfect response to the ball that’s coming at him. Writing, same thing. You master these elements of craft so that when the scene is unfolding, you don’t have to ask yourself, “Should I put this in the present tense or past tense? Should this be a blunt style or a poetic style? Is this a time for a simile to be introduced or not?” That’s second nature because you’ve mastered those elements, and they present themselves at the perfect stroke.
Amor Towles, How I Write