I am on the verge of beginning a new project. This one has involved a lot more pre-writing business. I’ve wrestled with concept, dug into my characters, built my world, decided on POV character and chosen the tense… I’ve even outlined a basic scene-by-scene plot. Usually I just write and decide on those as I go but I’ve been chewing over this idea since January, scribbling notes and plotting away whenever I needed a break from The Dreamer’s Tears. It’s been a fun process – like putting a skeleton together.
But now that it comes down to it, I’m frozen.
It’s the strangest thing. I’ve never had blank page syndrome. I’ve generally hurtled from one project to the next without too much thought about it but with this one I just can’t seem to start. It’s massively frustrating because I love this concept. I love the characters. And I know, it’s going to be fun to write. And yet, here I sit, writing a blog instead of the opening chapter.
I have a feeling the reason is threefold:
1. The Dreamer’s Tears is not really finished yet. I know when I get it back from my readers I am going to have to tweak it some more. And then, when I eventually find an agent who will represent it, I will need to do some more work. And then, when it goes to the editor, it will need another round of changes. I know it will never be finished until it is officially published. And so, I suppose I am a little apprehensive about immersing myself into a whole new world before I am done living in the other one.
But, as I’ve heard many a veteran writer say, ‘once you start submitting, start the next thing’. I’m trying to take that advice.
2. I am nervous about ruining a great idea. It’s all good and well to have the entire plot mapped out. And it’s great to know the characters so well I can already hear their voices in my head. But beginning the actual story makes me very nervous. What if I don’t do the idea justice? It’s all good and well in my head but what will happen to it if I let it out of there and pour it onto paper? This kind of thinking has paralysed me. At some point I am just going to have to dive in, knowing that I’ll be fine once I get writing.
3. I am terrified this one won’t amount to anything either. Of course, having written four other full length novels which ended up being shelved, there is that voice in my head that says, this is just going to be another waste of your time. Writing a novel is a lot of work. The initial writing part is the easy bit – the editing and editing and editing afterwards is what really hurts and sucks your time. So what if, like the others, this one doesn’t find a publishing home? Should I continue to waste long hours, days, months, if it won’t be published? To be honest, I might be able to convince myself to stop writing if I tried really hard, but the muse would come and whisper in my ear again and a story would erupt and I would have no other choice so I may as well get over that one fast.
I feel like these apprehensions are genuine. But I also feel that even though I might not get published with this project, I definitely won’t if I stop trying. Besides, what fun is life without making stories? Right, now just to wrestle some words onto that first page…