My friend, author and blogger, Susie Finkbeiner is hanging out at the Jotter’s Joint today as we celebrate the release of her second novel: My Mother’s Chamomile.
The most terrifying moment in writing (for me, at least) is just before I start. The cursor blinks. Blinks. Blinks. The word count at the bottom of the page shows a big, round zero. My fingers hover over the keys.
I hesitate because the beginning is important.
No, I’m not talking about the “hook” or getting the first sentence right. That’s not the beginning that scares me. All that can be tweaked and polished later on.
I get goosebumps from the genesis of creation.
My first book, Paint Chips, was in the hands of a publisher and I was ready to start work on my second novel. I had the characters, the plot, the ending, even the title.
But I also had a problem.
Fear of the blank page paralyzed me.
Would I be able to write a novel again? Would it be okay? Did I know enough about my subject? Would I be able to find a publisher for this novel?
I’d write a sentence. Delete it. Another. Delete. Over and over.
I needed something. I just didn’t know what it was yet.
I tried more coffee. Got up earlier. Stayed awake later. Prayed. Cried. Smashed my keyboard. Okay. Maybe not that last one. But I sure wanted to.
Then, I remembered that November was coming. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in one month.
I signed up.
Turned out, I needed a fire under my behind. I wrote furiously. The words came. They were awful, but they came.
By the end of the month, I had a good deal of the first draft done. 50,000 words.
The real work was about to begin. Editing and reshaping and cutting and rewriting. But the terrifying part was over.
The blank page.
I needed to cannonball into the swimming pool of writing, not keep on the edge, testing the water with my big toe.
My novel, the one that tortured me before I began, My Mother’s Chamomile released last month.
That means it’s time for me to leap back into another novel. Only this time, I’m not as scared.
I’m ready for the splash.
I am grateful to Susie for being my guest and overcoming her page fright to deliver a powerful tale of loneliness, longing, loss, love, and grace.
Buy your copy of My Mother’s Chamomile at your favorite retailer and then show Susie some author love by visiting her at: