Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The First Words Are Harder Than The Last

All professional authors have heard this comment before. You have just told someone that you are an author and they meekly say, "Wow! I could never write a book." And, it is just for those few words that those people will never experience the glory and excitement of getting to those final words, as Greyhaus Author Helen Lacey just posted on FACEBOOK:

Writing is a tough activity, but seriously, one of the toughest things to do is just get started. You are eager to get writing and maybe you have even figured out the concept behind the story. And yet, when it is time to write and you are sitting there at your computer, that cursor is blinking at you on the blank page taunting you.

But the pressure doesn't come from finding the right words to say and hook the reader. The pressure is coming from the motivation of just typing. It is the self-doubt many writers have, after saying over and over again that they could never write a full novel.

I remember when I was younger and in Boy Scouts. Our troop, like so many other scout troops, would take week long backpack trips. These would often be in the range of 60-100 miles. During the early preparatory meetings with the parents to get them involved with the planning and the training, one mother openly stated that she knew her son would never be able top walk for that long. The answer we gave, however is just what many new authors need to think. "We are not walking the 75 miles in a single day. We will do 10 miles in a day, and likely less than 5 miles before lunch." In other words, we will just work our way through the trip and eventually get to that 75 miles.

I work with college students and their first serious research class. For this class, I assign a large research paper of 20+ some pages. When I state this on the very first day of class, I get more bugged out eyes than ever. But I tell them the same thing. We are not writing those pages in a single shot. We'll write the introduction. Then we'll write a small section of the paper and so forth. When we reach the end of the quarter, the excitement these students have is the same as when those teenagers come around the corner on that hike to the smiling families after those 75 miles. And it is also the same excitement authors share when they type the words THE END, like Helen did!

So, if you are someone who has the desire to write but continually make excuses of why you can't write, I challenge you to give it another chance. There may also be some of you who have started a story in the past, or even finished one. Get up and get writing again. Remember the joy you had when you wrote the last time!

And don't panic. There are thousands of other authors in the same boat as you. The difference is, you will get to write THE END this time. 

1 comment:

  1. What a nice, inspiring post! You are so right. It's just deciding to begin that is the hardest.