Three Ways I Succeeded To Start Writing Fiction
I’ve kept the fiction arm of my creative writing endeavors separate from my writing here. I didn’t want to write about writing fiction. First of all, I’m still learning how to do it, and secondly, I want to write the story I have to tell, not talk about writing it. In the process, another story emerged. Now that I’ve succeeded—not in finishing but in starting—I’ll share three things I’ve learned.
When you’re easily distracted, the real problem may be inside. I began my book-length creative work the day my children went back to school nine months ago. Well, I really started one year and nine months ago in 2007. Beginning takes time, and I had much to learn from reading other authors and sharpening my writing skills with other projects and this website.
I started in earnest in September 2008. Some legitimate things came up—an accident, a surgery, a recession and possible career opportunities. After I saw the line between legitimate reasons and excuses had blurred, I finally wrote my first chapter during winter vacation. The kids returned to school, and with big expanses of time, I seemed to have no time to make any progress. As winter turned to spring, I saw that the external distractions were only an excuse for avoidance.
Recognize the blocks you create for yourself and remove them. I verbalized the blocks in my path to my husband in the kitchen the week that school ended. It wasn’t so much a conversation as me saying out loud, “I always fear the unknown whenever I start something new.” Those words twirled around in my mind alongside some past accomplishments. In each case, I persevered past invisible barriers to develop confidence in my abilities and learn what I needed to learn. But in all of those instances, I fulfilled assignments or expectations that involved other people, which seemed to make these projects more worthy or more doable. Then I read this:
. . . men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 58: 27-28)
Writing this book is individual, the first large project of my thirty-seven years that I’ve conceived, planned and pursued on my own. I feared that I’d chosen the wrong project. I feared spending so much time on a pursuit that I didn’t know I could complete. I feared my execution of the projection wouldn’t fit my vision of it. I feared failure. Believing I have that power within me to not only create but to choose that creation stripped away those fears.
Set your goals high and establish a determination that you will complete your goals. I will need individual motivation and encouragement, but I believe I can succeed. My best writing day so far took place, ironically, on the last day of school. Good writing days have continued most days since, so much so that I flowed all the chapters into one manuscript, gave it more than a working title and viewed the statistics:
21, 810 Words
121, 238 Characters
Since I’m not a writer who keeps a running tab of my word count, it may not look like much to some. My daughter even asked after my dinner-time report, “And how long have you been working on it?”
To me, though, this first group of numbers represent more than where I am, a quarter of the way through my book. They show that I’ve overcome my biggest writing block—the beginning.