There’s this moment at the beginning of a new book, when most of the book looks like this:
That’s Scrivener’s full screen composition mode with a themed background. And a whole lot of blank documents.
I’ve written books in a lot of different ways. I’ve written on a Smith Corona word processor (black background, orange type), I’ve written in Microsoft Works, and MS Word. I spent years writing in text documents because Word was a nightmare and since I was the only one who read my stories (often on my pre-smart phone), they didn’t need to be formatted.
Lately I’ve been writing in Scrivener, and even then, I’ve written in a lot of different ways. I’ve written document by document, in folders for chapters. I’ve written document by document with each document a new chapter. These days I plot the thing, estimate how many chapters I’ll have, and create a new document for each chapter. Then I write with the whole shebang on scrivenings mode, so the docs all flow like this.
Leading to, in the beginning, a whole lot of blank lines. Blank spaces, waiting for story.
I know the blank page is supposed to be every writer’s worst nightmare, and I get that. I can relate, to a certain degree. The unknown can be scary, and especially when it’s your responsibility not just to learn that unknown, but to present it, in a sense, to others.
That’s huge. That’s massive. That’s…a tremendous fucking high, when the going’s good. And it’s still pretty badass when the going’s bad. (But when it’s excruciating…oh man. Hide the sharps.)
And part of me loves this moment. No matter how well I’ve plotted or outlined something, there’s always a huge amount of discovery. All those blank spaces will eventually be filled with words (I mean, knock on wood), and I’ll know this story inside and out.
This is a great, if terrifying moment.