Beginnings by Laurie Calkhoven

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.


  1. Appreciate the raw honesty of this post! And boy, can I relate. Motivates me to put my head down and get started on that next scary project...

  2. I've had that feeling often and still struggle. Stillness and meditation do help as does giving myself permission to do nothing...for awhile, until the need to write becomes overwhelming. Then, I begin.

  3. I'm the opposite--I LOVE a new beginning. It's when I hit the middle of a draft that I start to feel a little stuck

  4. Like Holly, I always get stuck in the middle, too! The good news is, Laurie, that what you end up with is always so beautifully done!


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