There’s nothing like the exhilaration of typing “The End” on your story. It’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment that makes you want to shout from the rooftops, “I wrote an entire book!!” That elation can put you in a powerful place for a while but then the inevitable happens – you have to start a new book.
For most people, opening a Word document is not a terrifying act. But for writers it can be a heart-pounding, nausea-inducing event. Why? Because there’s nothing more frightening than looking at a blank document and wondering if the writing “magic” will return. If your muse will grant you the grace to craft another manuscript, or if the evil turd known as “writer’s block” will take hold and make the process grueling.
A couple of weeks ago I let that little devil known as doubt sink into my head. The black cursor blinked at me from the top of the page one, mocking me to try again. See if I could make the “magic” of creating a story happen for another time. For an hour I paced around my office looking at my notes plastered all over the wall, wondering whether this new idea was solid enough to work.
If you’ve experienced any of this, you’re not alone. I believe everyone has serious misgivings when they start a new story. If they didn’t, I’d wonder where they got their confidence and beg them to send some my way. The key for me is to channel that doubt and fear and use them to drive me to put words on the page. Stand up to the worry that this manuscript won’t be as solid as the last, and type one word after the other until I feel things flow.
What I’ve learned over time is there will always be the fear your next story won’t be as good as the last, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. So write one sentence, and then another. Don’t look back. Don’t fret. Simply tell the tale inside you. It may not be pretty at first, but they are words on the page and that puts you one step closer to feeling that magic again.
What about you? Do you have ways to pump yourself up before you write a new story? Do you build a Pinterest board or create a playlist? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.