When it comes to new things, I tend to put a toe in the water completely privately. Or maybe even just a toenail. I try it out in secret, I don’t talk about it. This caution is true about new writing projects as well as other pursuits, like guitar playing or pie baking. By not calling attention to my endeavors (I seem to figure) if the whole thing explodes before takeoff no one will notice the massive detonating wreckage.
Oh, fear, fear—why must you stalk me so determinedly?
In an effort to be a little bit braver about my ambitions, I have an announcement to make.
I AM WRITING A NOVEL.
I began brainstorming it a couple of months ago, outlined it a few weeks ago, and started writing last week.
Yep. It’s true. I have never written even a paragraph of fiction in my entire writing life. I have always said that I could not write fiction. And here I am, doing so. I am acutely aware of the fact that I have no idea what I am doing, and yet, I am doing it.
What’s funny is I do actually seem to know what I am doing. Ten years of writing conferences and critique groups (not to mention over three decades of rabid reading) seems to have seeped the tenets of good fiction into my blood. That does not mean that I automatically know how to create it. But nevertheless, I am excited to try. As many of you know, I desperately needed a new project to attend to whilst percolating the memoir debacle (see Book Burning Take Two). This is it.
All of you novelists out there: advice for the first timer welcome here!
And in case anyone was wondering, I bake a mean pie.