I took part in a Writers League of Texas panel this week. The topic was restarting projects: How to begin or re-begin something.
Yes, getting yourself to sit down can be hard. Or sometimes sitting down AND believing yourself can be hard. For those problems, I suggest therapy or a time management seminar. But what about the actual writing? What are you going to put on the page? Do you know the story? Do you hear the first line? Is there a scene that keeps pulling at you?
If you know the story, sit down and tell it to yourself. All the way through. Don’t stop. That’s first draft. You don’t have to have the whole thing worked out. It won’t be pretty. It’s a first draft. Just get it down so you can look at it and read it.
If you know the first line, write it down. Then write a second and a third. Keep going. Something will spin itself on to the page. Keep trusting the voice and words inside you. Again, it won’t be a masterwork but you will have something on the page that you see and edit.
If there is a scene that keeps pulling at you, write it down for god sakes. It doesn’t matter if it comes at the end or the middle or the climax. WRITE. IT. DOWN. There’s a reason it’s pulling at you. There’s something in it. If you write it down, there will be clues in that scene for another scene. And another. And another. I promise.
But here’s the deal, start with what’s calling to you. Don’t tell yourself, “Oh I have to begin at the beginning. I have to go in order.” That’s bollux.
Write the juicy scene. Write the ending. Write the scene you know you need. Write the scene that makes you feel joyful, that makes you feel excited about writing. There are enough hard parts in writing and being a writer. Don’t starve yourself from the joy of writing the scene that’s calling to you.