the first paragraph


I am trying, once again, to write a novel.

It’s not an easy feat (understatement). I’ve tried on multiple occasions and failed on each of those attempts.

I think my failures have been twofold.

First, I have severe anxiety about the novel. I end up blitzed by the prolonged nature of the writing. It’s a long project and I have this feeling that I will fuck it up the longer I work on it. Continuity is a strange beast. There’s always a lurking feeling that I will forget the connecting points of plot and the entire novel will end up being a disconnected mess of thoughts.

Second, I find it hard to actually write the first paragraph. It’s strange. I can write a short story easily. The first page goes by quickly. The whole story comes out in a matter of days. I don’t have nearly any anxiety associated with writing short stories. When I sit down in front of the keys to write a novel, I freeze.

And I don’t know how to get beyond it. I’ve tried on a few occasions and any long form storytelling kills my creative energy. I end up locked in this interior fight between my own desire to challenge myself and my inability to actually meet the challenges that I have laid down.

I assume this struggle is something that all writers go through at some point. There was a time when I couldn’t start a short story. I got past that with practice and time. I would imagine that a novel needs the same amount of time and attention.

It’s just a matter of actually spending the time and energy to earn that practice.

If there is a message in any of this venting, it is that writing is a process built on practice and earned comfort with uncomfortable situations. It’s about continuing to pound against the wall until you break your way through.

So, maybe this post is more about admitting my own shortcoming so that someone else can benefit. Or maybe it is about venting frustration with my own process.

I’m not sure. The writing will continue as it always does. And I will continue to complain and train and try.

So should you.


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