Writeryogini

Writeryogini

Friday, June 3, 2011

In Which I Begin Writing My Next Book....


Today I wrote the first 500 words of my next book.

Starting is surely the hardest thing! The idea for the story has been building, but until today, I hadn't felt ready to actually start writing. I'm sure you are familiar with this feeling, that tingly combination of fear and excitement that comes with beginning something new. I purposely set a goal of only 500 words so as not to put too much pressure on myself. I actually wrote 547 words, but who's counting.

Because getting started is so hard, I keep the advice of my idol, Anne Lamott, in the forefront of my mind.

When you ask yourself, "Where do I start?" 
Anne Lamott answers, "You start where you are."

When you worry that it's not going to be any good, Anne gives you permission to write what she calls "a shitty first draft." The concept of the shitty first draft is so liberating, because one of the reasons we procrastinate getting started (I think) is our fear that what we write isn't going to be any good. And the fact is, what we first write usually isn't any good. It doesn't matter. What matters is that we begin.

What I wrote today is sparse and spotty and not very well written. It's pretty shitty. Anne would be proud of me. I know that the beginning I wrote today may not end up being the beginning of the book by the time I'm done. I know that the plot ideas I have in mind will change. I know that my characters will take on personalities that surprise me. But the only tingle I feel now is excitement, because today, my first three characters showed up and said stuff and did stuff. And tomorrow, I'll write another 500 words. More characters will show up, and they'll say and do stuff too.

It's okay that, right now, it's not very good and I don't know how it will all come out. Because the only thing that matters, right now, is that I've begun.

13 comments:

  1. All right! Hurrah! Beginnings are awesome, because the hardest thing is to start something, to get on the road and start the journey.

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  2. Oh, so true!! Congrats, Melissa! I know you can do it! And your excitement and determination is wafting my way, as well! I love Anne Lamott, too!

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  3. Thanks Ladies! It felt good to feel the juices wanting to flow.

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  4. 1 step - 2 steps - 3 steps before you know it you'll be on a roll!

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  5. Well done and good luck!

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  6. Congratulations on your new birth!! :) I'm sure it came out blotchy and slimy and not too attractive, like all new babies do. But you'll clean it up, and feed it a little, and it'll be beautiful in no time :)

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  7. Woo hoo, Melissa. I love Anne Lamott's advice about shitty first drafts. It's what's helping me get my first draft written. I've been working for months and only have 12,000 words, but it's something. Even if it's shitty.
    Karen

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  8. I so look forward to reading some of your work, Melissa; after all, you've dined on a fair bit of mine and, to me - compared with my novel - my blog is the epitome of a shitty first draft! Well done, and keep going!

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  9. Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. Today I got to 1200 words. At the beginning, I like to stop while I am still feeling the rush, so that it will carry over to the next day. let's hear it for the shitty first draft! Hip hip hooray!

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  10. Woot, woot! Way to start, Melissa!

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  11. Beginnings are difficult. I'm impressed. Sorry we won't see you in BlogShorts; that could be a good writer's-block-buster, though, if you need one...

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  12. Congratulations, Melissa. Way to go!

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  13. Well said Melissa! I so agree with you. If you haven't already read Stephen King's memoir on writing, I encourage you too. A writer friend lent it to me and it speaks volumes to any writer, aspiring or otherwise.

    You just gotta write, whether it's good or not, you can figure that out when you're finished. I love the shitty first draft idea by Lamott. I'm pretty sure I'm writing a shitty first draft right now, but the goal is just to finish it.

    Thanks for introducing me to your blog. I absolutely love blogs that help me grow and inspire me. I'm now your new follower. Rambles with Reese

    p.s. thanks for the encouragement. I hope my blog inspires you in some way too.

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