Confessions of a Writer: I Hate Starting from the Beginning, Vizzini

by Brandi Ziegler

Vizzini: He didn’t fall?! Inconceivable!

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

~ The Princess Bride

When you get your book to that point where it’s ready for submission, whether to CP’s, agents, editors, whatever, your MS is spotless to you, right? The dialogue, the world-building, the character idiosyncrasies. Everything.

Polished. No highlights or underlines or comments saying, What is this? Fix this mess.

I think this is part of the reason why it’s so hard for me to start over. Everything is hideous. The voice isn’t quite there. The world I’ve created is still a little blurry around the edges. And I’m highlighting every other word cause the one I used is not even close to what I’m trying to say.

My familiarity with “polished work” is ruining the gooey, young love I’m experiencing with my WIP. I’m so in love with this shiny idea that I ignore all the flaws and its superficial exterior. Then the typing ebbs and I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into.

At times I have to bribe myself just to get the words down. With things such as:

  • A chapter of the book I’m reading for every page I write. That sounds a little indulgent, but it’s motivating and it gets me on a roll. I end up writing two or three plus pages before I realize I can have a chapter break. I’m still only allowed one chapter per break regardless of how many pages I write. See? I’m disciplined sometimes. This is what I do for myself during the day when I don’t have hours to write.
  • After two hours of writing (this much free time only happens at night after the Toddler’s asleep), I get a half hour of zoning out. Twitter, Netflix, or more reading. Then right back to writing.

Loud music works when I’m absolutely stuck. I turn up the music I had on low (not a must, but a comfort when I’m writing) until it’s consuming, and I think scenes though. Things I don’t think about: how far away I am from my word count, am I the only one who’ll ever love this book, am I going to get reported for my recent search engine activity?

I know none of this is new. I also know with book contracts and deadlines that no amount of whining/procrastinating/indulging is going to get the writing done. So I’ll pout while I can.

Please let me know what you do to get through the beginning of a WIP. I’m nowhere near the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s hard. If I hadn’t already written four books, I’d think it was impossible.

Do the impossible with me. Happy writing!