I sat down to start work yesterday after finally getting the tiny laptop going. Logging into the word program I quickly typed in the header one. Man, was I so excited to start writing this novel. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a few months now, but I needed to do a lot more brainstorming before I deemed I was ready to actually write.
There that cursor sat blinking at me. Blip. Blip. Blip. My brain froze instantly. This is a common problem for me when I take too much time between projects and writing. At least as far as I can tell from analyzing previous beginnings of work. Fine, if my brain wanted to take a moment to lock up like that I’d go around it.
Sometimes I find that handwriting the beginning of a chapter often stops that freak out for me. So I pulled out some computer paper I had sitting close by and started to write the chapter. It came so quickly that way. My hand barely able to keep up with the thoughts running through my head. Just as I settled into a groove my loving family wanted my attention once more. Ideas drifted away as quickly as I’d conjured them and my hand froze.
Maybe the reason for such a quick disappearance was because the beginning wasn’t strong enough? Maybe I wasn’t drawn into the story enough for that to work?
I turned to my family and interacted with them, watching the videos they wanted, responded to their chatting, and gave them my undivided attention. After all, this is a byproduct of sharing office space and everyone getting used to me working on another book. Once they all turned back to their respective computers I set that computer paper off to the side and grabbed a hardback notebook that is reserved for a different novel.
I began writing a new start to the novel, but only got halfway down the page before I felt overwhelmed. Every tiny noise got to me and I knew this too would be a failed attempt at a start. I closed the book and went to refill my water bottle. I’d take time for myself. I needed it and deserved a few moments to gather myself once more.
It wasn’t like writing a novel was foreign to me. I’d just completed one early this year. I knew I could do it, but still. There is something about starting a new novel in all of its glorious mishappen twisty mess that is truly terrifying. Had I decided on the right project to work on? What if I write it and hate it? The questions flew through my head in a race as I took a few moments to simply breathe.
They are the questions of self-doubt, or better yet, fear. Not once do they really mean anything, but they are a familiar method that I use on a subconscious level to get in my own way. There was a time when such a thing would stop me from going further. I’d take a few steps back and months would turn to years as I tried to analyze what I was doing wrong and why I couldn’t write.
The thing is that it wasn’t a matter of not being able to write. I could write. It was a matter of sitting down and putting words on the paper. Yet, there I was frozen in a perpetual state of nothing.
All too familiar, I was able to recognize the slide into the pit of despair, one of my own making. I had a choice. I could stop it or face the fact it would be another two years or more before I’d release another novel.
It was time to suck it up buttercup. No more standing in my own way. I sat down and transpired the beginning of the book from the computer paper. So what if the beginning wasn’t perfect. This, after all, was only the first draft.
Once that was typed into the computer I forced myself to sit and write four hundred of the hardest words I’d written in a long time. It took me far too long to get them into the computer, but it didn’t matter. I was moving forward. That sickening fear of beginning a new project dissipated and I was moving on.
I allowed myself to stop at that point to enjoy some much-needed family time and help my daughter with her homework. While it may not seem like a huge writing day, it was for me. As writing is often about many forms of journey through the creative process today was huge. It wasn’t a large word count type of journey, but rather overcoming a creative mental roadblock, and sometimes those can be the hardest if we let them be.
As per my usual, I laid down for bed before ten and woke back up a mere hour or so later. I now sit almost three thousand into the novel and am going back to catch more sleep. This time no doubt plagued me as I wrote those words because I had overcome what had defeated me so many times before. I had started a new novel in the same year I finished one.
Bring on the journey. Remember to L.O.L. (Live it, Own it, Love it) or it isn’t worth doing.