Starting Up

This is my “writing blog.”

The idea of adding yet another blog to my list seems a little crazy, since I already run a family blog, a baking blog, and a personal blog, none of which get much attention from me, and two of which I’m tempted to scrap anyway.

Yet here we are.

I consider myself a writer – mostly. I drive a baking blog. Most of that writing is about food, past experiences, thoughts on random subjects, and life updates. Nonfiction seems to come naturally to me. It’s comfortable and easy. I’ve developed my own unique writing voice. That makes me a successful nonfiction writer, I think.

But fiction? This is the part where my palms sweat and my brain fuzzes, and I become paralyzed at the idea of crafting a compelling story with good pacing and character development. Sure, I can form complete sentences with correct grammar and punctuation. But will it be good storytelling?

I have very little experience writing fiction, but good heavens, I’ve done a lot of reading. And the more I read, the more I can see what authors are doing. I’m becoming more and more convinced that I could be good at it, if I could just get over the paralysis and get a draft (or two, or ten) down on the page.

I’m a natural-born editor. I can analyze and revise the heck out of anything, and I’m educated enough intellectually in the craft of writing fiction to know what to look for and change. But education isn’t going to get a first draft completed. And if I don’t get that first draft done, I won’t have anything to revise. Call it strange, but that’s what I say to keep myself motivated:

If I don’t get a first draft done, I won’t have anything to revise.

So. I need practice. I need to turn off the internal editor. I need to shovel words onto the page and promise myself that I’ll be allowed to play with them later.

This cognitive loop has helped me get a first draft of a Chapter 1 completed. That may seem pretty small to an experienced fiction writer, but I see this as a pretty major victory, because I’ve never completed more than two pages of any long-form fiction. But I’m winning. I’m doing it.

And I’m thrilled and terrified.

And now I need to finish Chapter 2.