How do you get started writing a novel?

The first time I sat down to write my novel, I was so intimidated that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to start the first chapter. So I didn’t. I wrote Chapter 6 instead. Then, because I still couldn’t figure out how to write Chapter 1, I wrote chapter 4. Then chapter 13. By that time, it didn’t seem like as big a deal, especially since I kept reminding myself that it didn’t matter if it was crap – I could fix it later. It was just important to start. Period.

Another thing – about that infernal editor. If you have problems turning it off, you can try any number of things to force it to be silent. You can give it a name – and a whole other personality – and tell it that it’ll get its say soon. Or, if you have decent typing skills, put on a blindfold and type away – can’t edit if you can’t see, right? Or write by hand – there seems to be more of an emotional connection as opposed to typing (or so I’ve heard). And keep reminding yourself that the first draft is just that – a first draft. There’s plenty of time to chop, change, add later. Just get the flow down and worry about the rest later. You can start in the middle of some action or conversation – that way you have something to propel you forward.

That’s my $0.02 (that’s $5 Canadian).

Writing without editing. Also known as Blitz-drafting.

This was difficult for me, but I figured out a way to train myself to do it. It sounds hokey (I don’t know how to spell that word – never seen it in print before – but I think you all will probably know what I mean) but it worked.

I sat down in front of my computer with a mask over my eyes so I couldn’t look at the screen. It helps that I can touch type, of course. After a few days, I had myself trained to just shut my eyes and not look, and didn’t need the mask anymore. I still do this.

I find that if I look at what I’m typing, I’m more inclined to want to edit, but if I type with eyes shut, it’s a lot easier to turn of the infernal editor (yes, that spelling was intentional).

Hey, if it works, use it. If not, well, you can at least laugh at it.

(I havne’t written a damn thing all week except for emails cuz I’m still too sick to use any brain cells.)