For Friday, February 5, 2016:
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
I guess he should know, eh? We’ve got plotlines, ideas, characters and locations and dialogue all swimming around in our heads, and then we sit down to a blank piece of paper or computer screen and … Dammit, where’d it all go? It was all there just a minute ago, threatening to outpace our writing or typing speed … and … nothing.
Nothing except ‘How do I start all this?’ ‘What should I put first? An action scene, a character intro, or descriptive narrative?’ ‘Shit, there’s no way I can get all this down!’
Usually that’s how I start with each blog post, and then, later, when I get back into my novel. It can feel overwhelming. And it’s so, so normal. That’s part of the angst, the creative anxiety that we need to start – and continue – the process.
I’ve learned I have to embrace – well, at least welcome – the feelings of discomfort and jitters, because without them I find I don’t do well when I sit down to write. If I just close my eyes, though, and start putting words down, they soon start to flow and those uncomfortable feelings start to go away. I can rearrange the words later, if need be – and I usually do – but at least I’ve got something to work with now.
As the master of horror also says, “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” I know it’s easier said than done sometimes, but just write. Write a few words now, then a few more. If it helps, write about how scary it is to start. Respond to King, tell him you know how it feels.
You can do it. It can be gibberish at first, but it might not be. Even if it is, it will start the flow. Those words will be what gets you started. It’s just a few words – let them do the work.