We all write in different ways. I have been sharing my manuscript-writing journey.
It begins with the idea.
It continues as I scribble-scrabble all the notes, solidifying the idea into a full fledged story…well, as full-fledged as I get. I know the world. I have a list of scenes (though no idea of the order in which they occur). I have characters and character arcs. I have a theme.
A restlessness flitters through my brain. I keep working on notes. I keep thinking.
There is a point where I know it’s time to move on. I know all I can know and to learn the rest of the tale, I have to discover it…I HAVE TO WRITE IT.
The time to open a new word doc arrives.
This is the scariest part for me. The part dripping with doubt. Can I really write ANOTHER book? All I can think of are the thousands of unwritten words, the blankness that spread out before me.
I would be happy to keep writing notes, keep brainstorming, but…I can’t. I can feel the need to take the next step.
I open the word doc…
I type the title…
I cover the word count at the bottom of the screen…BECAUSE WHO NEEDS THAT PRESSURE?!?!?!!?!??!
Then I stare. There it is. The beginning. The opening. So many possibilities. Not a mess. I can still make it perfect. Like a pool waiting for you to dip a toe in…or jump in…
But I question. Do I know where this starts? Do I have a story that can fill page after page? THERE IS SO MUCH WORK TO DO HOW CAN I DO THIS HOW DID I DO THIS BEFORE IF I TYPE SOMETHING I WILL MESS IT UP
Every time. No matter how many of these piles of words I write, I will always question.
After hours of panic and doubt and staring. I write…
And the panic grows. I can’t do this. So much blankness. So many words waiting. So many scenes that I will just mess up. This won’t be what I want. This won’t live up to my expectations…all the thoughts crowd in. Eventually I deal with them.
THIS IS A FIRST DRAFT WHAT THE HECK ME JUST WRITE THE DARNED THING YOU CAN FIX IT LATER SO SHUT UP ALL YOU DOUBTS I GOT THIS
Once I embrace the mess I am about to create, once I free myself of the doubt, once I set my mind to fun mode, I write.
As much work as writing is, it should always be fun. If I focus so much on making it perfect, it will never happen.
As I write the beginning, I know we will meet again. I never get those pesky openings right on the first try.
I have to jump in. Write words. FUN WORDS. Do they make sense? Who cares. Do I have everything in there I need? Who cares. Do I doubt every thing? YUP. BUT WE AREN’T GOING TO THINK ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW
Word after word. Page after page.
World set-up. Character intros. Paint the scene. Set the tone. Set up the theme…the story.
Before I know it, I come to a line, a sentence…a feeling…I have finished chapter one.
And you can probably guess what happens next…but stay tuned anyway.