No Sweating the Small Stuff

What is the most difficult or challenging part of the writing process for you?

I have to laugh at myself.  Obviously, as I'm writing this post a day later than I was suppose to, one of the most challenging parts of the writing process for me is time management. 

Time management really doesn't fall under the writing process though, so I'll pick another.  

I'm trying to start a new book right now and having a lot of difficulty.  It's hard to choose just one part of the process that stands out as the most difficult.  I'm odd about opening lines, names and titles.  I have a terrible time really getting into a character if I can't name them.  I have a terrible time starting that first page without an amazing, catchy, opening line... And I absolutely get hung up on having just the perfect title for these perfect people and amazing story that I'm going to pull together.  

 Funny thing is, none of these people are going to be that amazing story I want to write if I don't get over all those little things that don't matter so much.  

Titles are going to change.  Names will probably go through some changes as well and I can say without much doubt at all that opening lines are going to be edited and beginnings moved around.  

So why do we as writers sweat all the small stuff?  We have ideas in our heads that need to come out, stories that need to be told.  My new goal for this new book is to just write it.  If I don't, will any of the rest of it really ever matter?


Joanie said...

When my daughter was in her first college comp class a few years ago, I picked up her book one day and decided to do some reminiscing--and got a shock. Like you, I had been spending time over-thinking beginnings, and always thinking I couldn't go forward unless I had a pretty good handle on how the project would start. And, like you, I often changed it later. Well, twenty years after I'd taken Comp I myself, here I was reading my daughter's book and seeing something I'd completely forgotten from my own class. The text said "The beginning should always be the LAST part of the writing you complete." And WHAM! I remembered my Comp I teacher saying the same thing at least half a dozen times when I was a student.

Now, I try not to sweat the beginning. Yes, I still spend too much time on it, but I remind myself that the best beginnings come after the perfect endings.

Good Luck!


Reese Mobley said...

It all boils down to one thing. Write the dang book. You can always go back and fix the crap!!

Rox Delaney said...

I must be the odd one. (Yes, yes, I'm weird.) The opening and opening line(s) are often the first things that pop into my mind before I know who the characters are or sometimes what the book is about. Of course it gets tweaked and punched into shape later, but it's usually pretty close to what I end up with.

We all work in different ways and still end up with a book. Kind of magical. :)

Rox Delaney said...

Reese, crap, indeed! I'll be fixing crap in a couple of weeks. I know it's there and needs fixing, but I'm going to finish the dang book first.

Anonymous said...

LOL you guys - we never write crap. It all comes out magical and perfect the first time around.

Joanie - I have never heard that about the perfect beginning coming from the perfect ending, I like that. Makes a good motto to hang over my desk. Thanks you.

Reese - I'm working on it... lol.

And Rox - I'm that way too, which is why no writing is getting done. For me, that first line or two has to come directly from the character, something they'd think or say or do or feel... I can't write it until I get that. Funny thing is though - and I've just started learning it - sometimes the more I write that has nothing to do with the beginning, the more I get in the characters head so I can finally come up with that beginning.

Melissa Robbins said...

I lost count how many times I changed the opening to Murder Decoded. My final change come from me realizing that Wren didn't act the same in the first chapter that she did in the rest of the story. I had to change it.

However, in my second Wren story, the opening lines and title have stuck with me.

Rox Delaney said...

What a diverse bunch we are! Which just goes to show that the "system" doesn't really matter. What matters is that we begin to understand our weaknesses and strengths and work with them, not against them. If starting at the third scene or the next to the last scene works best, use it. And if we find that it doesn't work that way the next time, but something else does, we have to be flexible enough to give it a try. It can be a win-win if we let it! (And I now have a topic for my blog today. LOL Thank you!!)