The first sentence is ALWAYS the hardest, in spite of the fact that I can go back later and edit/rewrite/scrap it altogether. It’s only the first draft. Stop freaking out over it and just START, already.
But I can’t. I am paralyzed and out of sorts and can’t seem to remember how to write. Maybe I’m a fraud. Maybe I’m insane. Maybe I just need a cup of tea and a biscuit.
It's not like I was without a firm idea of what I was going to write. My process is pretty basic. I take copious notes, do the appropriate research, and make more notes. Then the characters start to come forward, so I make a list and try to figure out what their part in the story will be. I research names for all of them. Names that have meaning. Names that sound good not only when read them out loud but when I hear them inside my head where all the action is taking place. Then it’s on to the plot and soon I have a basic storyline down on paper.
On page 155 of “On Writing”, Stephen King offers some very solid advice to writers with regard where they choose to write. “The space can be humble (probably should be, as I think I have already suggested)...”, he says. I agree. It should also start out clutter free, as you’ll collect plenty of clutter in the form of research material, teacups, pens, markers, blank paper, and if you’re like me - a binder/journal full of notes. As a matter of fact, most of this clutter will probably show up by the end of the first day.
He also recommends your office have a door, but mine does not. My kitchen table serves as my desk because it works for me and also because I don’t have anyone else to contend with, thus no need to retreat behind a closed door. My version of “closing the door” was cancelling my satellite TV subscription and unplugging the phone. Yes, I still have a landline. Call me old-fashioned.
So I sat at my new space, loving every bit of it and at the same time agonizing over the next step. I farted around on Facebook, watched YouTube videos, and wrote a few Blog entries for future use. But when I turned my attention to the task at hand, I couldn’t even bring myself to type the first word.
I was chatting with another writer online (yet another distraction) who naturally asked,
“How’s the project coming along?”
I was honest with her and she was kind enough to pass along some advice.
DETACH FROM THE OUTCOME.
It was that simple. If you concentrate on the end result, you won’t get started. If you worry too much about what’s waiting for you at the end of the journey you won’t be authentic.
I wrote those four words on a sheet of paper, taped it to the wall, and 15 minutes later I was off to the races. Speaking of which, I promised myself I would get the third chapter written and the fourth chapter mapped out before the end of the weekend. As per usual, I am a bit behind that goal ( and by "a bit", I mean I'm not even halfway there ).