Starting a project can be the most daunting part of it. You have it planned, you have your hopes and dreams and visions for it, but now it’s time for the vague miasma of thought to coalesce into a reality.
And reality is a bitch.
So you put off starting because living in the land of dreams, of anticipation and planning, is so much easier. More fun, too. But the months pass by and you realize that you can’t live in the land of dreams, just as you can’t think your way across the ocean.
So you have to start.
There’s no magic trick to starting out. I have my outline, I know where it begins (vaguely), but that doesn’t give me any clues when it’s time to put the first sentence down on paper. And when that blank page is staring back at me accusing me of every weakness I know I have…
You just have to start. One word after another. One horrible, painful word after another.
Because it hurts to realize how much I suck. I’m not saying that as some false modesty thing, or some self-deprecating joke, or even as a doomsday proclamation. It’s a simple fact—I suck. My pacing’s off, my dialogue’s a joke (and not in a good way), my characters are flat… When I look at the words I put down, I can’t ever see them being a published book.
But you know what? That’s okay. Because these words don’t have to be a published book. They don’t have to be good. They don’t even have to be readable. They are simply the breadcrumbs that the real words will follow later.
I’m already having a hard time fighting the doubt. That creeping, stomach-deep, wobbly feeling that I can’t do this. That I have to change everything to make it better. That this is never going to work.
But it will. Maybe not soon, but it will get better. It won’t suck forever.
It’s going to suck now, though. But I have to keep going.
Because starting isn’t actually the hardest part, contrary to what they tell you.
It’s continuing. And then… finishing.
I don’t have much to say about those because… I’ve never actually done them.
This time is different. It has to be.