On Starting a New Project

For some dumb reason, I do this EVERY time I start a new fiction project.

I’ll do research and outline and plot and brainstorm and talk with a few writer buddies, but when I start writing it, I hate it.

So I’ll put aside that first page or so for a day or two, and I’ll come back to take a fresh stab at writing the scene in my head. Almost certainly, I still hate it. I’ll hate it slightly less that I hated that first version, but it’s still trash-can-chucking level of writing.

I’ll start it a third time, or even a fourth time, and by that time, it’s no longer at this-sucks-only-slightly-less-than-vomit and starting to look more like prose I’m proud of. And then I’ll edit what I’ve got one more time to see if it’s doing what I want before I start rocketing down the Don’t-Look-Down-Frenzy-of-First-Draft-Insanity. I’ve done that on every single fiction project, save one, that I’ve EVER written.

What to do? It’s a great idea, I just can’t get the brain revved up to move forward with it on the first, or even second try. It’s kinda like an old pull start mower, that you have to pull it three or four times to get it rolling, and then adjust all the controls and knobs and fiddle with it to get it rolling right. 

Of course, when I think of this analogy, I can’t help thinking of Eddie Izzard’s bit from his show Glorious, where he talks about his dad starting up the lawn mower when he was a kid. Specifically, the bit itself starts about 52 seconds into the video, and it doesn’t last very long…once he starts talking about glove compartments he’s on to something else. But the lawn mower bit is actually pretty accurate as to how my brain seems to need revving up when I start a project.


Anyone else feel this way?

By the way, on the new project, I’m on the fourth pull-start. And feel like I’ve got it humming right now.

And no, you can’t see the old stuff. I plan to burn it in effigy (at least by symbolically printing it out and burning it) when I finish the project.


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