So I'm starting my first novel. Writing, not reading. I've read many novels in my time, so starting another one generally isn't a problem. Writing one, on the other hand, can be a bit of a chore. That's why I'm writing here instead of there. Writing here means I'm procrastinating.
Well, not so much procrastinating as feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of writing a novel. I've been writing poetry and short fiction for years...decades, actually. Damn, that makes me feel old. Short fiction is fun, relatively quick, and I can knock out a complete and mostly satisfactory short story in a month or so. The problem is I'm one of those writers who never feels the work is right, that there's always room for another edit. Then another. And oh, I should tweak that sentence just a bit. But then that plot point isn't clear enough. And so on.
That's why I feel trepidation when I sit down to work on my novel. I'm worried that it'll end up in a morass, my feet stuck in the muddy banks of an ever-flowing river of words. Try as I might, I won't be able to pull free and I'll be slowly sucked down and drowned by my inability to let go.
It's not as if I don't have a good idea, or that the outline for the book isn't laid out (fairly) neatly in my head. I can see the story, see the characters, see the obstacles they must overcome. It's (mostly) there, ready to pop out of my brain and splatter itself all over the page. I'm ready. I'm willing. I'm able.
I'm just concerned.
But that's what it is to be a writer. All the neurosis and doubt and weirdness and comes with the territory. Non-fiction never bothers me. Short fiction is fine. Poetry is a walk in the park. The novel, however, is an unknown beast, lurking in the dark recesses of the soul. Is it growling, or merely purring? Maybe I should poke it with a stick.
Nope. Bad idea. Note to self: Pencils should never be inserted in nostril.
But never fear, I have started on the novel...sort of. I have some character sketches done (all the better to know my players), and I actually have the opening scene written. So it's there, ready and waiting for me. I think it's grinning. Or maybe that's a snarl. Might as well take a deep breath, stick out my hand, and see if I can make friends with it. We'll have a nice relationship for a while, maybe six months or a year, then I have to learn to let it go. Send it off into the world to seek its fortune.
If you love something, set it free. It's hard to do sometimes, but I'll learn how.
Back to it...