Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Act of Beginning

If asked, many writers will say that once they have pulled up a chair and begun to put words on paper or screen, within 15 minutes (30, the most), they are engulfed in the creative flow.

Beginning is the writer's nemesis. And what makes a writer.

Beginning means to turn deliberately away from other life activities and commit to this creative process. Beginning means that something else will not get done, must be discarded, must stop. Beginning is an act of faith, an act of courage.

Taking the trash out is easier.

In her inspirational book Walking On Alligators, Susan Shaughnessy says that we must examine our rituals and rhythms and determine what helps us reach our daily Beginning--and what is mere procrastination. Some of us ease into that first word of the day; others leap in, knowing that if they don't get started immediately, the day is lost.

How do you get to your daily Beginning? Is there anything you could change to make that Beginning easier, smoother?

May you find the Beginning process that slides you right into writing every day!


Elisabeth Rose said...

My friend the multi published Anna Jacobs treats her writing as a job. She goes into her office sits down and starts writing at nine o'clock every morning ( or whatever time she has set). She puts in a full day then goes out and shuts the door. She is very firm about the need for a disciplined approach--no sitting around waiting for the muse to strike LOL But this is her living so it has to be that way. I think most highly sucessful writers are the same.

Anna also says she can't wait to get to work every day because she loves writing so much :)

I.J. Parnham said...

When doing a first draft I always find that having a perfect ending is more important than the beginning. There's often this desire to get to the end of a scene, the end of a chapter, the end of something. But that means the next time I start writing I have to pick up a brand new scene, introduce characters, waffle on about the scenery and generally start from scratch again.

If though I finish writing in the middle of a good bit and resist the urge to finish it off, when I next start writing it's very easy to get going again. I'll know my first few lines and once they're down I'm off.

Sandy Cody said...

I so agree that beginning is an act of faith. I can't honestly say that I have a routine for beginning my writing day and, as a result, all too many days slip away from me. Ian's idea is an excellent one. I'll try it.

Joselyn Vaughn said...

I try to remove as many barriers as possible to getting to work. Keep the pen with the notebook. Keep the page marked for edits. Keep the notebook accessible whenever there's a down-moment so I can use it before it's gone.