I hate shopping in department stores. My fashion is underdeveloped, at best, and all those choices send me into a panic.
The same instinct to flee assails me when I sit down to write, particularly fiction. Confronted with every writer’s nemesis – the blank page – I don’t know where to start. I’m terrified that I’ll make the wrong choice.
Take my current fiction project: a novel. I’m roughly 9,000 words into what will likely be a 100,000-word manuscript, and I’m not exactly sure where the next scene should go.
As a result, I haven’t touched the manuscript during this vacation.
I think about it and look at my laptop. Then, I do something else.
Today I tried something different: I sat down and started writing – not at my usual sticking point, but at some point later in the story.
It started innocently enough. I was wondering what kind of quirks my current protagonist might have, and baseball came to mind.
What could I reveal about my hero, a paid assassin, through his love of this all-American sport?
After toying with the idea for an hour or two, I grabbed my notebook and started to write.
Let me be honest: It was a slow, painful slog – especially those first fifteen minutes. I even made a note in the margin about the horrible quality of these words, with the caveat that the premise behind them held potential.
Soon, I had written more than 500 words and learned some interesting things about my lead character.
In fact, the experience was so exhilarating that I’m looking forward to getting back to my story.
Are you stuck on a writing project or having problems simply starting? Begin writing somewhere else. Start with the end, or jump into the middle, jotting down your main points and building from there.
Let me know how this works – or share your own suggestions for getting un-stuck.