What better way to end our week of writing tips than by talking about Start Up Time?
Start up time is what we face at the beginning of a piece of writing. Ever noticed it? The page is fresh. You’re eager to write. But you stand up. Pace. Sit back down… maybe twenty times. Maybe twenty times over and over every day for weeks!
It’s not that the words won’t come; it’s just that they come so slowly.
Don’t despair, that’s the nature of start up time. Start up time moves in slow motion. It’s the time for listening, for gathering in, for letting the pot simmer. You’ve got to give start up time its head.
Why is this important? Because it’s easy to give up on a piece of writing—especially a novel—if you don’t realize what’s going on internally. If you don’t recognize that this sluggishness is part of the process.
“Time accomplishes some things that you simply can’t do yourself, and worrying about them is a waste of time,” Writes Kenneth Atchity in A Writer’s Time.
Atchity’s book has a great explanation of this writer’s process in terms of time, which he breaks into First Time, Middle Time and End Time.
First Time, or start up time, according to Achity, is when you accomplish the least work, because your mind is engaged in “a new experience.” It might only be able to handle the intensity of this newness for a moment or two before giving up. Which means you have to give yourself a break. You can’t force start up time. Or corral it with expectations.
Of course Middle Time has its own pitfalls, one being exhaustion. The sheer length of a novel or even a short story can be daunting during Middle Time. What we long for is End Time. The light at the end of the tunnel. That glorious rush of energy that lets you finish in one ecstatic burst.
In the end, what this breaking down of time really means is that you want to pay attention. Honor the process and its natural rhythms. Trust start up time. You’ll get there. Even if it’s a drop at a time.
Next week the fantastic Sarah Aronson, Head Case, www.saraharonson.com takes us on a NEW kind of journey.
Many writers believe that it takes ten years of hard work to get published. There are many roads. A lot of stories. And tons of hard work.
We love hearing about them after the writer gets a contract.
But starting Monday we're going to be the first to know when Sarah interviews writers on the road to publication. So read about them now, because we’re sure you'll be talking about them in the future!