writing in three parts

Part I: Safe Spaces

I have gone so long without writing fiction, that I am afraid of a blank Word Document.

Anxiety. As soon as I open one, I immediately close it.

I feel safe in this blogging box. I feel safe in an email document. I feel safe in my ratty old notebooks with my ball point pens.

I am working on conquering this phobia. I wrote 101 words yesterday morning, and 499 before bed.

Small steps.

Part II: Small Steps

Feeling like I’ve never written a damn word in my life is strange. I’ve found myself wondering what I DID before I donned myself A Writer. What pushed me over the edge? Well the answer would be English 294: Intro to Creative Writing. I wrote short stories. I rarely wrote anything that wasn’t for class (at least for awhile) but I felt that out of every three stories I thought up, at least one was well-written and whole and made me proud.

What’s the difference between a short story and a novel? Why am I finding this leap SO HARD to make?

“Starting a short story is easy,” I once thought. “I just get a character, and an idea about this character, and run with it!” You don’t have to worry too much about plot or character development. A short story is about creating a moment, or a series of moments, that add up to a small truth or thought or conflict or story. It’s not a book, it’s an experience.

*Ping!* Lightbulb above Jessica’s head.

Maybe writing novels is about the moments, the small truths, and the experience, too.

Well, that makes me feel a little better.

Part III: That makes me feel a little better.

I got a new chair for my birthday.

For weeks and weeks I’ve been lounging, half functional on my bed, browsing the internet until I’ve seen EVERYTHING INTELLIGENT that is going on in that particular day.

I look over in the corner of my room and imagine a chair.

A chair where I will sit and be comfortable and alert instead of prostrate and lazy. A chair where I will write.

That chair that is now here.

And every day, I will sit my butt in it and spend a little time with that intimidating empty white space where my future books will grow.


It worked! There was  a tiny stroke of genius in that chair last night, when I listened to this song and felt that full body CLICK you get when you realize that you know What Your Book  Is About.

Inch by inch. Word by word.


One Comment to “writing in three parts”

  1. i say if you can write in ratty notebooks best, do it! unless you lose your notebook, you’ll always have your stuff! (i guess im still just bitter i lost several good pages of a new story due to a crappy computer. i had resolved to hand-write everything from then on but… havent, haha.) but seriously, i say whatever works.

    write more about noveling! i did nano in 07 and it was awful. now i want to map one out and start working on it (maybe to finalize as a thesis in grad school) and i need all the help i can get! well not help-help, but you know, reading about others in the same boat. i come from a long, LONG line of short stories. that’s all ive ever finished writing. i used to write “books” as a kid but abandoned them several pages in. same with stuff since high school on – its hard for me to finish stuff. so im going to have to expand from 10-25 pages im used to, to… 70,000+ words i guess.

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