Beginnings are exciting, and I’ve already mentioned that I have a lot of them ahead of me. Beginning of postgrad life, beginning of work, beginning of moving out on my own… but the most important of them all is that, for me, tonight is the beginning of a new book. My new project is something I’m more excited about than I’ve ever been for a project before – partly because I love the idea, and partly because I know so much more about writing, about crafting stories, than I ever have. That’s what happens when you spend time working at something, you get better.
I’ve written about beginnings already. I’ve talked about how they’re sometimes the hardest part, how getting up and starting something, getting into a routine, can be difficult. But beginnings can be exciting too.
Sometimes beginnings can be easier than anything else – we’re free, we can start from scratch, we have no constraints, no thousand pages of notes to keep in our heads.
Beginnings are fun. I’m not the kind of writer that jumps right into the story, but at the same time I’m not the kind that sits down and meticulously plots something. I like to think about my concept, the premise I have in my head, the theme of the story and the characters that I’ve already thought of, and just let the ideas come. It’s really just a free pass to daydream.
For me, beginnings are about thinking, about writing furiously, about listening to music that’s way too loud, pacing around and daydreaming about what might happen, about all the possibilities. During beginnings I chug coffee (which I do all the time anyway), I pace around, I go out. Beginnings are about leaving a night out with my friends for half an hour because I’ve just been struck by lightning and have to write something down before I forget it.
Everything gets hammered into an outline, characters, and themes to remember later.
Needless to say I’m excited to start. I’m excited to spit out jumbled ideas, words that I’ll look at when I have to take the mess and turn it into a plot and ask, ‘What f***ing idiot wrote that down like it was a good idea?’ I’m excited for the moment that one of those jumbled ideas to lights up, and becomes one of the best parts of the story.
How do you feel about beginnings? Are they daunting for you? Do they excite you? How do you begin a book, or some other project? How do you get your ideas, then turn them into something more?