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, in particular, 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.

The article 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 heard 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.