Hardcovers are classy broads who drink wine from the Loire Valley and have opinions about caviar. Paperbacks are lo-fi babes all about boxed wine and Hot Cheetos. I’d love it if you could make her acquaintance (she’s cheap! And fun!). To celebrate, I’m sharing some hard-won writing advice.
Starting a book is one of the hardest parts. That frighteningly white page is like staring into an abyss, and your first timid taps on the keyboard don’t in any way resemble your favorite author’s words. This kind of writer’s block is fear: fear that you’re not good enough, smart enough, fear that whatever you write will suck, fear that you’re not up for it. I get it: I’m there every time at the start of every new project.
When this happens I remind myself that opening chapters and scenes often get rewritten. They’re the bumpy part you need to get yourself off the ground and flying. Don’t spend too long on them. In the words of John Hughes: say anything. You can even write “Some amazing opening here that’s interesting and cool and then…” and start half-way into the first chapter.
Your first draft WILL suck. It’ll be clunky and disjointed. It’ll lack subtly, character development, it’ll miss opportunities for narrative connections. And that’s okay! The only way to a polished final draft is a hot mess of a first draft. Your freelance or in-house editor/writing group/first readers will all help you make it better. Done is better than perfect. There is no such thing as perfect.
So start! Start half-way in, start in Chapter 2, write “blah blah blah” until you find a way in. Just. Start. The world needs your voice: what you know, what you’re obsessed with, your truth. Go write. NOW.