How to begin a blog post about beginnings? I have to admit I’m feeling rather stuck, but I’m the same way when it’s time to begin a new novel. Stuck. I have an idea, but it’s vague. I don’t know enough about the characters. I’m not sure in which direction the plot should go, or if it should even go at all. I feel lost and confused and afraid. The thought always crosses my mind that maybe I’m done. Maybe I don’t have another novel in me.
I used to describe this as a kind of desperate flailing around, trying to find my footing on slippery ice. But now I try to trust that it’s just part of my process. So I put my head down and do the work I can. I meditate to get to know my characters. I do research. I make lists of scenes, most of which will never get written and included in the book.
It’s only when I know for (almost) sure what my opening and closing scenes will be that I’m finally ready to really begin. To write the words Chapter One and see what comes next.