Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Beginnings  First steps  Paragraph one  Initial chapter   Seed of an idea  
Number one line   A start

Any one of the above phrases will tell you that today's post is going to be about beginning a new writing project. Earlier this morning, I was reading a freewrite Random Word submission of someone in my online writers group. It involved a lot about what is happening in her personal life right now. As I read, I thought to myself that she must, must, must write a memoir book. She lives in another country, has had a most interesting life that has had more than its share of difficulties. Besides that, she writes like an angel. I wrote to her telling her she needs to give serious thought to writing a memoir book. I'll be her cheerleader from start to finish if she takes me up on the challenge and begins this new project.

Beginning a new writing project is exciting and also a bit daunting. Another member of our online group is a translator working on a memoir book for an Iranian woman. She began with both enthusiasm and apprehension. Just recently, she submitted a chapter by chapter outline for our group to critique. Fascinating material which made us want to read the entire book, chapter by chapter when she subs. Not a great many people will start a huge translating project like this one.

But there are plenty of other types of writing projects waiting for you. If you look at those phrases above, the one that suggests the first requirement is seed of an idea. After all, we must have that before writing anything. We may need to do some research before we begin the actual writing. Some of us will make a detailed outline before beginning the actual writing while others will plunge right in and let the story guide them as they go.

Besides the excitement of starting a brand new writing project, there's also some concern. We know that openings are important, that they must hook the reader in a hurry. More so today than ever before. We're in the do it immediately kind of life because time is our enemy. Or so it seems. What if you write five pages today on this new project, then read them two or three days from now and think they are absolute drivel? Hey, it's gonna happen more often than not.

It doesn't matter. That 'drivel' you've written gave you a beginning. It isn't set in concrete. It can be revised in any way you like. You can make the revisions right away or wait until you get to the end and go back and redo the whole thing. Personally, I like to work chapter by chapter on a large project, so I'd rewrite chapter 1 so I'd know where I'm heading in chapter 2. If it's a short story, you might write the entire piece and then revise. Same with an essay or article.

The important thing is to begin a new project. As soon as you finish and submit to an editor or publisher, start writing something new. It's true that there is magic of beginnings, as the poster above states. It's fresh and new and the road ahead is empty waiting for you to fill it. How can that not be an exciting time?

When you have an idea for a new project, are you eager to begin? Do you have a routine way for beginnings? Or is each project started in a different mode? What do you think about beginnings?

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