Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Three Ways to Begin Almost Anything...Plus One



Those are the big 3 components of most start-up plans, whether we're starting a business or beginning a new book. I agree, but in my case I do need one more:




A small itch, to start...then the son of an itch...All the rest amount to nothing till I have that inner itch. I can nurse Ideas and play with Plans until the cows come home. But it won't make a damned bit of difference. I need the itch to get in gear. And the itch is the one thing that cannot be forced.

The itch manifests in several ways: the desire to find a new notebook, something a little bit different this time, in which to lay the groundwork...scheduling possibilities for writing daily while I work...a growing need to spend time with my characters...more and more questions about them...

This is quite different, for me, than sitting one day like a calm, controlling pro. As the itch progresses, in fact, I grow more and more controlled until I really can't resist scratching the itch as I must.

So yesterday I found the just-perfect notebook for the new Boss MacTavin mystery. I passed a slew of Moleskines to snatch a 9x12 stiff-covered, 80 sheet Cambridge notebook. What grabbed me was the 2" bordered column on the outside of each page. I could make special notes there, memos to myself, etc.

Within the next few days, after I've finished preparing Red Champagne for its December launch, I'll begin to scratch with pages of questions and notes...which, I'll know from memory, will quickly multiply. Questions breed questions and notes breed more notes. And this could be a dangerous thing--as the wannabe writers in bars will tell you between beers--if the scratching didn't generate an even fiercer itch one day:

To try out some opening sentences. No plan to really start writing--not yet! But one of those opening sentences will lead us to try out a second...then a third...

And then we're lost as well as found. We're into perpetual scratch mode...and loving every second...as our confidence grows while the happy itch goes wild.

What the hell. At least we're not suffering from this dread affliction:





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