Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: Beginnings

With every ending there is a beginning....that's what I keep telling myself as my job ends this Friday.
After the holidays I intend to spend the month of January living the "life of a writer" and putting all of my focus on this endeavor...while looking for the next job, of course.

I am calling it "30 Days of Living the Dream".  Not bad, eh?  :)

So I have been spending a lot of time deciding how to organize both my days and my work once 2013 arrives.  In this way, Twyla has been very helpful.

Chapter 5 is all about finding an organizational style that works for you.  It might not be Twyla's box idea...maybe you work better on the computer, in file folders, on Pinterest.  Its personal...but probably pretty important.

But as I look to January my biggest fear is sitting down to work and not knowing how to start.  This happens all of the time.  I stare forever at the blank screen and the blinking cursor and my brilliant idea in my head just won't come out.

However, Twyla brilliantly says, "there's a difference between a work's beginning and starting to work."

Remember, you don't have to start at the beginning.  Once Chekov was asked by a nephew how he knew where to start and he replied, "That your book and tear it in half.  Begin there."

Your exercise from Chapter 5 is just that "Begin!".  Do you have a brilliant character and you just don't know what his full story is?  Do you know a bit of it?  Do you know how it will end?   You have a great climax?  Do you just want to know more about the character? 

How do you "begin"?  Share your ideas here...I could use them!  :)


  1. If it's any comfort, I lost my job years ago and used the time to write and illustrate the picture book that had been brewing inside me for years. It was published and I did find a new job without the grueling commute to NYC. Enjoy the beginning of your beginning!

  2. I do find beginning very hard too--be it blank screen or blank paper! Brainstorming on paper helps--writing lists of possibilities--sometimes looking at other book and images for inspiration (within reason--not get too distracted)...

  3. I'm like a magpie. I collect bits and pieces of a story...a character here, a conflict there, a turn of phrase...and jot it down in one big list in a Word document. I do this for maybe 2 weeks. By the time I sit down to write, it feels more like a matter of assembling those bits than starting from a totally blank page. So that takes some of the edge off of "beginning."

  4. I like rush writing exercises. That way you can start writing without having to worry about punctuation or awesomeness. One of my writing teachers used to make us writer for 10 minutes straight and if we didn't know what to write we had to write... "I don't know what to write. I don't know what to write..." Good luck. I hope you have a great January!