Getting back into writing
On Saturday evening, I decided I had to go back to writing my novel. Looking at the computer warily, I felt scared. What if the words didn’t flow? What if I ran out of ideas? What if I realized my writing was terrible and became too discouraged to continue? Basically, what if I couldn’t do it? Then I remembered a line from Stephen King’s On Writing: “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” So I took a deep breath, opened up the Word document, opened my notebook to my confusing, sprawling outline, and started.
I won’t lie–it was hard. On Saturday, I just wrote whatever came to my mind, happy to have written 1,000 words. On Sunday, however, after working on the novel intermittently throughout the day, I realized there was a gaping hole in the plot. Something just didn’t make sense. Frustrated, I just stopped where I was and went to bed, thinking about how much of a failure I was, and imagined the whole story falling apart. (It’s funny how hard we are on ourselves sometimes when things don’t work out.) This morning, feeling more composed and bit more optimistic, I ran through the sequence of events, trying to figure out where I went wrong. Suddenly, the solution to my problem appeared, clear and fully formed. I patched up the hole and smoothed the corners, rewriting the paragraphs until they felt right. (I’m not sure how other people work on their drafts, but I have to keep rewriting something until the words sound right and feel right. After I have reached that point of satisfaction, I refuse reread and continuously edit until the second draft, because I know how dangerous this process is and how it will inhibit the progress of my novel. But I am trying, slowly and steadily, to stop editing and just keep moving.)
Do you have a special process you go through when you write? Is it hard for you to restart after being away from your work for a while?