Lost in the Woods

North End AutumnSo I’m at that point in the novel writing process that scares the chewing gum out of me. *hack, spit, cough*

I’ve got the plot refined, the beats nailed down, the scene list listed.

Life should be great. Right?

And it is. Don’t get me wrong. Having the freedom and the time to write daily is a privilege.

But this is always the part where I go all existential angst. I think of it as opening-night jitters. If you’ve ever performed or you know someone who does, then you know of what I speak. And yikes.

All the prep work comes down to this. The blank page. The actual scenes, beat for beat, line by line. Sure, this isn’t my first draft for this project. Some of the scenes are rough and just need polishing. Others need to be written from scratch.

But this is the moment of truth. The next six months or so is when I see if all the “discovery drafts” and backstory scenes amount to anything.

Or if I’ve just been whistling in the dark.

So I hammered out two scenes today. No way to know if they’re any good yet. But hey, I wrote. When really I’d rather run and leap into someone’s arms, Scooby-Doo style: SAVE ME!!!

The only solution for this kind of panic is bum glue. Work. A regular writing schedule. I have to treat my fear like it’s relatively unimportant. Because it is.

But for good measure, I’m also reading Milton’s Paradise Lost because I’ve been told no writer can even approach Milton’s glory. I find great freedom in the prospect of imminent failure.

Because if the field of failure is so vast, then hey. Things are looking up. My one and only goal is to finish the f-ing book. I think I can do that.

But if you’ve found better ways of braving the blank-page jitters, I’d love to hear them.

Published by M.C. Easton

Novelist and teacher.

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