Sounds Like Life to Me
Last week I mentioned some of the fear I have about writing anything longer than, well, a blog post. I’m still pretty nervous about it, and from what I’ve been reading, every writer—even the most famous and prolific—has that fear. So at least I’m in good company!
For me the hardest part is simply getting started. And I don’t mean getting started in the big picture sense of the words, because I’ve actually done quite a lot! In the last two months I’ve read books on writing, talked to authors, researched and prepared the best computer program to write a book in and taken lots of notes. I even bought a notebook to carry with me all the time, which I’ve actually filled with pages and pages of my jaggedy, cursive handwriting. I’m actually a little proud of the work I’ve done.
Except I still haven’t quite dived into chapter 1. For the most part I know my setting, and I’m getting to know my characters. I have a loose outline. I’m pretty sure I know where my characters are going to end up by the end. But I’ve dragged my feet, and for the last few weeks I keep finding excuses to wait. Putting a book together is a lot of work, and it would be easy to delay those first words indefinitely. But that’s a bit like wanting to run a marathon and using “I need to do more research and plan my route” as an excuse not to start training.
In some ways these blogs have been my jumping jacks and pushups, which is why I started them. I can even say I’ve ran around the block a few times. Now I need to start the race.
Wish me luck.
Now that I’ve said that, with all my research and preparation I’m learning there really is a lot of work just to get those first few words down in black-and-white. That’s another reason I’ve found all of this daunting. [Pull out your favorite iceberg or “all the work you don’t see under the surface” metaphor and insert here.] World-building involves a lot of groundwork, especially if you want your world to be consistent (and you do). I really could design characters, setting, plot details, etc., for months or even years and still feel ill-prepared.
But I know myself, and at some point all of that becomes an excuse. If starting is the hardest part and if I have done the necessary preparation, sometimes closing my eyes and jumping in is both the bravest and smartest thing I can do.
Did I say, “Wish me luck,” yet?
Okay, one more thing. Before I started this journey two months ago, I didn’t realize how deep the rabbit hole went on writing a book. It really would be easy to get lost in Wonderland. But I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy getting to know the people in my story! Authors might tell you that your characters will start dictating where your story goes, and they might even end up in a completely different place than you expected. I’ve already seen that in small ways as I’ve laid the foundation for my story.
Is it just me, or does that sound a little like real life?