Monday, February 6, 2012

a question for you: moving past the beginning


i wrote a paragraph on friday night.

it was succinct and short and simply an introduction. but i loved it.

the first five lines of the novel. the one i've put off for 24 years. the one i've  been formulating and rewriting on napkins and old receipts, on word documents and the back of worksheets. the one that will compile and make sense of the senseless one-liners i've texted into my phone.

this is the story that will put words to the feeling i get in my gut when i hear a certain song at five in the evening with the sun beating down on the interstate.

but what followed was rubbish.

the second paragraph was just awful and i erased it immediately, almost embarrassed at the lines that flowed from my fingers.

so i have a question for you. you bloggers and authors. you painters. you etsy sellers. you early morning musicians and late night poets.

how do you continue? how do you push past the curse of the blessed first sentence? i'm afraid i've entered the party in my best dress and i can never make such a dramatic entrance again.

how do you turn back around, put on something else, and saunter back into the crowd?

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p.s. speaking of bloggers, my friend jen from singing in the rain is hosting a giveaway as part of her one year blogoversary. hop on over and enter to win a giveaway to my etsy shop!

24 comments:

adesertgirl said...

I do not claim to be a creative person. At all. My only thought is to let the words come. They'll come together, just as that perfect first paragraph did. Really isn't everything in life a series of firsts? The first paragraph after the first paragraph. The first paragraph after the second paragraph. And so on and so forth until you have the first last paragraph of the novel.

You're a wonderful writer. It'll happen.

jessica said...

I'm definitely not an expert but from my experience I always like to just go on with it anyways and the deeper I get into something, the better it seems to become. Then I can go back later with a more in depth grasp on what I'm writing and edit the pieces I don't like to sound how I really wanted them too. But that way, you're always moving forward with it. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time. So happy to see you writing something like this! :)

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I would say don't erase, just keep going. Write and write and write, then you can go back and edit out the stuff that was just there to move you to the next thought. One great paragraph is incredible - I can't wait to read it!

Gwen@Saturdays with Maggy said...

If you try to perfect every sentence, you'll never get past the first page. Just keep going, and see what happens. There will always be time to go back and edit. Keep going, keep going!

Kristina Streeter said...

I would have to say that you just need to dive in, go and edit later. The other thing is sometimes the next part just comes to you. It comes while you are laying in bed right before you fall asleep, or you are driving down the freeway. But if you wait to write the entire book based on things just "coming to you", you could be in the process of writing this book for a very long time. I say if you know what you want this book to be all about then get out a piece of paper (or even note cards) and write out the plot. The big stuff. Then the medium stuff, and the small stuff, then just just fill in the rest with your beautiful gift to write.
Picture your story in your head, and "live it", then write all about it. :)

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

I agree with Kristina- write now, edit later.

Light as a Feather said...

When ever I create something, I usually just start. As I continue working I go back and edit. I erase a million times, but I keep going. Eventually I come up with something I am happy with. Something I like. Sometimes I need to step away and go back later. Just keep working.

ginanorma said...

I pray, and whatever comes or doesn't come, I put under God's grace.

Amber said...

I wish I had some words of wisdom here but all I've got is you gotta get back on the horse

Bon Bon said...

write on...let it naturally flow out of you. then go back and gussy it up:-) xoxo

Rachel said...

Just keep writing - keep your hand moving across the page or your fingers typing. Allocate a period of time, or a number of pages, and keep going until you get to the end. Then go again later in the day, or the next day. Oh, and you may like to read Anne Lamott ("Bird by Bird"), Natalie Goldberg and/or Julia Cameron for inspiration, if you've not already.

Taylor said...

I'm in the same exact spot! I made it to the first two paragraphs and am not sure what to do next. Let me know if you figure out any ideas!

Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

I have a rule for myself when I write: never erase anything. Just keep writing. Sometimes I write scenes two or three or ten times to get them right. Sometimes I never go back to a first draft; other times I do and find some gem there I thought was a rock at first.

chambanachik said...

I am horrible at writing in that way. I've tried and tried. I guess that's why I've mainly stuck to poetry and blog posts- more vignettes than stories.

Stephanie said...

When you write the way that you do...you just force yourself. :) Keep.writing.

Confessions of A Confused City Girl said...

You stop... you breathe... you keep writing.
Sometimes, as a songwriter, I get blocked too. I just keep writing. as ridiculous and awful i think it is, I keep writing. Then i put it away until the next time. Sometimes when you think it's horrible, leave it alone and comeback to it. From that you can pick the direction you want to go in...

~Sherine
Check out my blog, comment, and follow if you like!
Confessions Of A City Girl

Becca said...

I'm so happy you're writing - I love the way you write! I find that you have to write a lot of rubbish to find the gold, so I'll echo all those 'keep going's above. I feel like the perfect next sentence is there, you just have to find it, or listen out for it. Also, why not try writing the bits you already know, then come back and fill the gaps? Sort of dot to dot. :) x

gracelizabeth09 said...

Everyone has already said the advice I was going to give, so I'll just say this: I'd read a book written by you, any day. :)

Valerie said...

In college, I used to write by the parts that I knew what I wanted to say. Then I would go back and connect them all together. You have the beginning; now go write the next part that you already have pictured in your head. Then the next part. When all of that is out of you and onto paper, you can go back and create the bridges between them all.

I agree with gracelizabeth09 - I would love to read a novel written by you!

Amylou said...

I'm no professional writer. I'm not even that great, but when I do start to write. I just get all my words out without editing first. All the thoughts in my head. Then I go back and read it. Some sentences might only be needing to be moved and some re-worded, but most thoughts are usually good. I just try to get the thoughts out like I would if I was speaking to a friend.
You can do this Courtney! Keep after it! You have the most beautiful words inside you!

ash said...

just keep writing. write write write. <3

Taylor said...

It's always so hard to start, but once you get over that little bump in the road I'm sure something lovely will happen!

Anna said...

this is definitely one of the very things i struggle with. i think the key to it is just to WRITE. don't worry about if you spelled anything correct, or if your syntax makes sense. just put it out there. all of it. set the timer and write for ten minutes without stopping. if what you write makes perfect sense you're not taking enough risks. ; ) then, after you write, revise. revise. revise. i have a poetry teacher who always says "no piece of writing is every finished. everything can be added to/changed/etc." but i'm a firm believer in posting what you write, because each time you push publish, you grow. boy do you grow.

and someday i really want to touch the moon. so i've got heaps of words to go!

big love,
Anna

Tina said...

i love this post. i've been writing for ages and about two years ago it just stopped working. i have all these one-liners on my phone, in notebooks, one scrap paper and it's not coming together. but i still have hope.

keep trying, and good luck with the writing!

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