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Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Beginnings

I started a new book today. Why are beginnings so hard? Truth is, you should just plunge in. Anywhere. Just vomit up whatever you can and not worry about how it looks or how it sounds. You can always fix it in post.

But saying that and doing it is so hard. Taking that first step. Committing yourself. That’s when I wish I was a salesgirl at Macy’s. A job that requires no emotional commitment and no creative energy. And no deadlines. No editors to impress, no readers to disappoint.

That’s the crux of it, now that I think about it. The knowledge that whatever you do, you’ll be judged. Getting that knowledge out of your head, or at least sublimating it is vital to taking that first step. And the second.

Some people are better at it than others. I always admire those who have confidence in their own abilities. Rosie O’Donnell once told a story about Barbara Streisand that I’ll always remember. Streisand isn’t a typical beauty. Her voice, though powerful, has it’s issues. And let’s face it, she’s something of a character. So when she started out, she got a lot of rejections. So Rosie asked her how she managed to keep going when over and over people told her she wouldn’t make it. Streisand said she simply didn’t believe them.

Don’t you wish Ms. Barbra could bottle that confidence and sell it? I’d buy a caseload. Then before I start a new book, I'd drink it all up.

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Blogger Rae Ann Parker said...

I always have trouble with the beginning and the end of the story. Sometimes I say out loud, "Just start typing." The talking out loud thing is one reason why I usually write at home. :)

October 3, 2008 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Hey, rae ann! I'll have to try the talking out loud thing, too. You never know what will work. I don't usually have trouble with endings. But any kind of beginning--even beginnings of scenes, when you're transitioning out of one and have to start another. Next time, I'll try the mantra. Just start typing...

October 3, 2008 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger Jody W. and Meankitty said...

I actually love beginnings. It's the rest of the book I don't have time for *heh*

Jody W.

October 3, 2008 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger TallDarkandHandsome said...

There's nothing more exciting than beginnings, for the reader at least. I always like to take out at least 8-10 books and read the first couple of pages. Whether or not the book I choose turns out to be as great as its beginning isn't that important. The fun part is reading all those beginnings.

October 3, 2008 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Thanks, TD&H. No pressure there...

October 3, 2008 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Having read many of your "beginnings," Jody, especially the amazing ones that you "fake" for exercises, I can see why you like beginnings. You're very good at them... Wanna come over and write mine?

October 3, 2008 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Cassondra said...

Oh, man. If you can bottle that Annie, I'll be first in line to buy a truck load of it. I think that's COMPLETELY missing for me. The confidence to believe it will work. Right now I'm in my own (personally appointed) deadline hell and thinking, "I don't know what the flip I'm doing. Not a clue!"

I keep looking at the sign I made for over my computer--the one you told me about at National--"Your job is to collect rejections."

It really does help! Somehow, it takes just a smidgen of the pressure off for me.

October 7, 2008 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger lucy said...

Me too, Jody. I love beginnings. Thats why I can't write fiction, only poetry. I feel like most poems don't go past their beginnings. Although I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with that statement.

Sometimes I even have a hard time reading endings to books. I'm so aware that the book is about to end, the book is about to end, the book is about to end--that I can't concentrate on the actual ending. It's a very annoying habit of mind.

October 10, 2008 at 11:35 AM  

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