You have to start before you can go on.

starting line

Photo credit: tableatny via VisualHunt / CC BY

I made a discovery.

Jane Friedman’s blog (janefriedman.com) is magical to me. There is so much information on there that fascinates me. This article, written by Paula Munier, caught my eye today.

Your Novel’s First Scene: How to Start Right

https://janefriedman.com/your-first-scene/

Reading through it, I felt that thrill. You know what I mean. The thrill of finding the missing piece. The joy of an epiphany.

It isn’t what you think.

Paula starts with clear examples of what to do. I found myself vibrating with anticipation. Yay! THIS will be the article that keeps me from screwing up from the get-go.

I read through the examples and nodded, smug about the secrets I was learning. Yes, that makes sense. Absolutely, Paula. Preach it!

I read Paula’s superstar advice about editing. What she wrote makes absolute and total sense – one of those pieces of advice that suddenly puts the world back into alignment. Oh, that’s genius. Totally going to do that.

I got up and looked for the tools I would need to follow her advice, then it hit me.

I CAN’T EDIT WHAT I HAVEN’T WRITTEN.

The thought smacked me upside the head so hard it made me dizzy. I haven’t actually written anything to edit in over a year. I have a piece of a novel, part of a short story, and a few writing prompts saved in a folder on my computer that hasn’t been accessed since 2015.

I am so afraid of failure that I haven’t even started.

Instead, I’ve been spending tons of money on e-courses, self-help books, copywriting classes, even a subscription to a site that will let you design your own book cover.

I’ve read thousands of pages of advice and instruction. I’ll start writing when I finish my e-courses. Or when I finish reading this how-to book. I still don’t know enough. Maybe I’ll start after this article. Or that awesome blog.

From what I’ve read, this phenomenon is common.

Analysis paralysis.

I have done everything except start writing. I made a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Tumblr, and started this blog. I’ve designed headers and logos and created my brand.

I signed up for a course on writing, one on deconstructing popular bestsellers, one on grammar, yadda yadda, ad infinitum.

I’ve lost count of the email lists I belong to.

All of it is a distraction. A way to avoid doing what I’m most insecure about.

Writing.

It stops today.