Guest Post: How Writers Can Get Started Getting Started

Photo by Brad Calkins

Photo by Brad Calkins

Sometimes after finishing a manuscript I seize up during the waiting period while it’s being shopped. I’m not proud of it. It feels a whole lot like the memory of me standing on the dock at the edge of a freezing cold lake in Maine in my summer camp days. I dreaded that first icy plunge even though I knew I’d be fine once I was in.

I’m excellent at finding ways to NOT get started on something new. There’s the 19 weekly trips to the grocery store; taking the dog for his walk three times a day; scrolling the newsfeed on Facebook every 15 minutes; and of course there’s all those backlogged DVR-ed episodes of Housewives of Wherever to watch.

All that said, my top three things to get me started on getting started really help the process. And eventually I do get around to listening to the chiding voice inside my head. Here’s what that voice sounds like:

  1. PULL OUT AN OLD MANUSCRIPT! Get to work re-revising! An old story often turns into something fresh and new.
  1. GO TO THE LIBRARY! Read a lot. After months and months of writing, reading the types of books I like to write helps me recharge my creative juices. I study the ones I like and the ones I don’t. How can I apply these elements or NOT apply them to my next WIP?
  1. START WITH AN ENDING! Yup. Really. I write a “final” scene and then take it from the top! Chances are it won’t stay as the ending but in some shape or form it may end up in my story.

Bottom line? Take the plunge! Dive right in. It doesn’t need to look pretty. Eventually, the proverbial water will be just fine.

By second grade, Susan Lubner had penned her first picture book, Fredfoot the Frog. Although it was not published, she did receive a ‘great job!’ sticker. Eventually Susan became the author of three picture books all published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, and a middle grade novel THE UPSIDE OF ORDINARY published by Holiday House. Her stories have also been published by Spider Magazine and Highlights. Susan lives with her husband, dog, and two cats in Massachusetts. They have two grown daughters, Hannah and Julia. www.susanlubner.com

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Guest Post: How Writers Can Get Started Getting Started

  1. Lesley C

    I suspect the seizing up happens to more writers than what is let on. I take this time to fill the creative well so there is definitely a spike in my reading activity!

  2. You’re right! It is so hard to work on something new while you’re on submission. Great advice – you always get used to the water and have fun if you just take the plunge. Even when it’s freezing cold.