A Writer’s Life: Getting Started

Good morning, Writer!

Today officially marks the first installment of my twelve-week series, A Writer’s Life.

*Trumpets blare, a rooster crows, six ducks quack in excitement.*

I am so excited to start this series with you! We are going to explore the writer’s world front to back, start to finish, and I am going to give you my tips, tricks, and favorite routines for getting serious about your writing and taking joy in your craft.

Today, we are getting started. Where better to begin than at the beginning, eh? (That’s my Canadian roots coming out, excuse them.) Every journey has a first step, every book a first page, every life a first breath.

Writer, this is ours.

Getting Started

New ideas are always exciting. The first glimpse into a new world, a breath touched with magic, and a new character that is loaded with possibility. Whether you’re starting from scratch or have had an idea bubbling away on the back of your mind for months, finally getting to the place where you’re ready to start is an exciting and magical moment.

Until you sit down and are suddenly bowled over with that ridiculous blinking cursor because what are words again? And how does one actually make them do things?

Writer, it happens to the best of us.

The start of a project is intimidating, it’s overwhelming, and it feels like a Herculean task that is going to bind us to a ten-ton quill pen and a blank page for the rest of our lives.

But.

But, do you know what else the start of a project is?

Manageable.

Possible.

And totally, totally within your abilities.

How To Make It Happen.

Whether you get stuck on the first line, the first page, or editing and re-editing your first chapter because it totally must be perfect in order to move on, this post is for you. Not to shame, embarrass, or discourage you, but to tell you that I was there too. I have been, I probably will be, and I know how it feels.

I also know how to shake yourself out of that rut and keep going.

I do it with two truths, three tricks, and one glorious moment of absolute courage.

Two Truths

Truth #1

Continuity is more important than perfection. Ten good pages are worth far, far more than one perfect page.

Truth #2

You will not get it right on the first day.

That’s not how writing works. That’s not how life works, or relationships, or new jobs, or anything else that I have ever come across in my entire life.

So make a mess. Make mistakes. Write the most awful, cringe-worthy first page. And love it, because you’ve started, and that’s more than most people will ever manage.

Then move on to the next one.

Three Tricks

  1. Start with what you have. Start with an idea, a ripped piece of notebook paper, and a scratchy pen. Forget the Pinterest mood boards, the aesthetics, even the world building. Start and gather the rest as you go.
  2. Plan to fix it later. You can, you know. Nothing you write is set in stone. It’s written, and that’s a step forward, but you can change it later. Once that pressure is truly off your shoulders, the words will fly.
  3. Think of it as a painting. You start with a sketch. Then you paint the base colors. Then, layer by layer, you add the rest. That’s how writing works. So start with a sketch, and keep going from there. The rest will come.

One Glorious Moment Of Absolute Courage

When I was nineteen, I flew to Europe. Alone. I had never traveled by myself before, I had never been overseas before, and I definitely had never been in charge of passports, plane tickets, and finding my own gate before.

The day I left, I was totally fine. Right up until my ride dropped me off at the airport, and I realized that the rest was up to me. I was headed to Europe, I was about to have one of the greatest adventures of my life, and I was terrified.

Just inside the airport doors was the hardest part. I was ready to go, I had my luggage, but I needed one more thing.

One glorious moment of absolute courage. Enough to step through the door, get my ticket, and go.

That moment was the hardest. Gathering that courage took all the strength I had, but every moment after that grew easier and easier.

Writer, it is the same for you. Right now, in the beginning, is where that courage is going to count. So take that deep breath, gather your wits about you, and commit yourself to one glorious moment of absolute courage.

Good luck, dearest writer! May your tea be hot and your dreams wild.

Have you ever needed one glorious moment of absolute courage? Tell me about it in the comments! And stay tuned for next week, when we will be discussing routines and how they can jumpstart a reluctant session.

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