Start, Start, Start!
“The scariest moment is just before you start.”
Take that FEAR, I’ve just started! It is as simple as that. My head is pounding, and my fear monster is screaming ‘This will be a load of crap. Who do you think you are?’ but this is a beginning. Of course, it could be a load of crap but you know what, who cares? The only one who is judging me right now is me, and if any of you ever get around to reading this and commenting, well sure you will be judging, but it means I have actually succeeded to get your attention which is a bloody miracle. So the message of this first post is GET STARTED.
There is no doubt, that starting any project, especially one that means something to you, is daunting. So daunting that most of us can wait weeks, or months or years, before we simply can’t bare it anymore and we simply go for it. We can become so creative at procrastination techniques such as ‘I can only start on a Monday’, or ‘I’ll just wait until I have time in the holidays,’ or ‘I just need to read another book to be fully sure of my research,’ and yet we are terrified of the creativity we might actually put into our writing.
I like to use my gurus to inspire me, and my favorite writing guru Elizabeth Gilbert puts it perfectly when she says:
“If your calling is to make things, then you have to make things in order to live out your highest creative potential – and also in order to remain sane.”
All those years where I stopped writing because of my job, or the travel to work, or my relationship, or just about any damn thing, were years in which many people frequently commented ‘You’re mad!’ Yes, for me, much to my distress, the insanity seemed to be visible. Although it was often expressed with a certain affection, it is not a phrase that lights up my day.
However, there is something to the fact that lack of creativity and specifically writing in my life leads to a visible dissatisfaction which for me can often play out in quite unexpected and dramatic ways. Even more reason why I have to get back to writing. All those stories, believe me… If they are rumbling around in my little brain never to see the light of day, they can only do damage. It is not a pretty sight. And maybe just maybe, some of you might be listening. After all, what is there to lose. To quote Elizabeth again:
“Fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to dessicate in the sun.”
That dessication has led to some very peculiar illnesses (more of that later) so dessicate at your peril. Now I know that the internet is flooded with writing advice from multi-award winning published writers so why the hell should you listen to me! Precisely because I am not.
One of my favorite things on a cold, rainy Winter night, is to plonk myself in front of the fire on the couch and watch ordinary people like myself put themselves out there on ‘The Voice.’ Even the most skeptical of you have to admit there is something fascinating about watching complete nobodies get up in front of the world and belt it out. Sometimes they bomb horribly but more often than not, I can be blown away by the fresh, and freaky takes on familiar songs. Whatever happens, these people of all ages, shapes, and types have shoved away the fear monster, and step out there in front of the glaring lights to realise a perhaps brief dream. Fair dues to them!
So that’s what we are going to do together. What I propose is come along with me on the bumpy ride of trying to make my writing work. I will admit I am not a complete novice with a Masters in Creative Writing, an unpublished novel sitting in a drawer, and maybe 5 other partial ones. However, to be published has always been my dream and as of yet, that has not happened. Let’s imagine we are all on ‘The Voice’ together and encouraging each other to step into the blaring lights. What’s the worst that can happen? I could bomb, and so could you, but at least we will have tried. Remember …
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
Task 1: 20 minutes free flow writing.
I want you to take a short time to answer two questions. Write them down and write out the answer.
- What do you read? (Fiction, non-fiction, classics, sci-fi, chick lit … ?)
What you read most yourself is a very good indication of what type of book you should write.
- If you could write about one thing what would it be? Fiction or non-fiction. Your story or someone else’s…?
It is almost impossible for me to choose one thing, but when forced I did.
Now spend 20 minutes writing free-flow the opening to that book. Put on a timer and switch off the Wifi on your phone and computer.