Here's a simple truth.
You can't force writing, and even less, force the beginning of a new project. But you can't wait until you "feel" like it, either. I firmly believe that successful writing happens on the narrow path between those two, and that narrow path is called "routine and discipline, and a good measure of brash boldness". You need to be bold as a writer. You need to take those words and stare them in the eye, and tell them that you're the master, and they better get in line, or else.
You'll also have to tell them that they don't have your permission to stray from the project you're working on into a new one before you tell them to.
THIS project is the one that needs to be finished!
You all know what matters if you want to be a successful writer: finish your projects. I believe, I firmly believe, that many writers out there never make it to publication because they never finish what they start.
And I also believe that it's less a matter of discipline than fear of finishing. Because what happens when you finish? You have to submit. You have to let go of your project and let others read it, judge it, and not everyone can take that.
You'll also have to do all those other things that come with publishing a book: market and promote it, and be the public person you'll have to be, as an author.
But that's not really what I wanted to talk about today.
I want to talk about beginnings. About that first word, the first sentence, that you put to paper when you start a new project.
I'm at that pivotal point once again. I'm starting my 8th. novel for Buddhapuss Ink, and I'm staring at that blank page, at the beginning of all things.
Once the first word has been written, the story will gain impetus, it will grow into the avalanche of thoughts and images that in the end, at the very end, will tell a story.
I love this moment. I love standing on the brink of the wide ocean of possibilities, and marvel at where it will take me. The journey through the story is as exciting for me as it is for you, my readers.
Like my characters, I'll fall in love, be happy, unhappy, shocked, I'll grieve and cry, and I'll do all those things they do.
I will grow, as they will, and in the end, I'll release the story into the world, and into your hands.
And I'll hope that you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
So, here we go. First words, first sentences.
When I was a child, New Year’s Even always followed the same routine.
My mom made her famous German potato salad, my dad would fill the fridge with bottles of cheap champagne, they’d argue over the amount of money that would be spent for firework and crackers, and they’d invite their best and oldest friends over, the Bihari family living on the floor below us.
As always, my dad would complain that they couldn’t have the filled doughnuts that he knew from home, from where he grew up on an island in the German North Sea, and as always my mom would shake her head and tell him to go down to Dunkin Donuts and get a box of the fatty things, they were just as good as the German ones from his childhood.