The Spawn were talking in the car the other day about writing and how hard it is, especially the beginning. As Younger Spawn says, “When you have to start you can’t think of anything, but by the end, you’ve run out of space for all your ideas.” She was talking about writing prompts for school, but I think it holds for most writing.
For me, part of it is about Fear of Suck. How can I begin something if I know it’s going to suck? What’s the point? Who am I kidding? I should give up and get a real job….and so on.
So, I have come up with a plan to get me started until the ideas start rolling, and means I don’t have to feel bad about The Suck. I call it the Square Brackets of Absolution. (SBA). They’re basically a safe space to suck and write crap until I feel confident in my writing. All I have to do is when confronted with a Blank Page of Doom, I open up a square bracket, and begin typing kak.
Like so: [I have no idea what I’m doing with this scene … It was a dark and stormy night when Jane was woken by the sound of breaking glass. Her heart was going like a thing that goes really fast and all she could see in the dark was the dim tracery of shadowed furniture. Something was out of place – a cupboard door left open,with a coat thrown over it. The coat moved….
At some point the suck is going to give way to some decent writing as your creative brain crawls out of its cave and blinks blearily into the dawn of Cool Ideas. When you’re done writing you can go back and find the spot where things change, and put in your closing square bracket. You don’t have to delete the suck, you can let it stay – you never know what ideas might be hiding in the suck that you’ll only spot come revision time. The square brackets make it easy to find these passages with a search, which will make deleting them easier later.
So if you’re ready to start writing your 100 words, open up that SBA and let the ideas roll.
Tomorrow I’m going to talk a little about outlining and mapping, and give a list of some resources that have been helpful to me and other writers with different approaches to planning.