The first thing you write is anything. Put a sentence together, see if another one follows. Get a paragraph. Look at what you’ve written, check if it’s want you wanted. Polish. Keep going or start over.
On March 26th, 2014, I decided that, to encourage myself to write, I would establish a writing streak, a record of how many days in a row I had managed to write, and post it publicly. Today marks the 1,460th day of that streak. Four years.
After one year, I made my first short story sale.
After two years, I sold another story and began a novel.
After three years, I was deep into the novel and cruising toward completion.
And now after four years I have left the novel, am not writing any fiction, and do not foresee myself writing fiction ever again.
Writing fiction was, for me, a broad macadam highway, along which I walked with many beloved friends. Now I have left that road and am bushwhacking cross-country, through thickets and swamps, to an unknown and perhaps nonexistent destination. I call what I’m doing “philosophy,” but that’s not really a good term. All I can say is that I’m looking for some understanding of who I am and what I’m supposed to do, here in this interval of the Unprecedented Era. I came to realize that fiction was a hindrance to my doing that. I left the novel at the side of the highway.
But I’m still writing. The streak has been a great blessing to me. Many nights I’ve groaned, wanting to sleep, but needing to create something, anything. It’s become a habit, maybe my best habit. If I ever do find what I’m looking for, it will be at least to some extent because I wrote myself there.
This is the writing for Day 1460. Tomorrow I will have to write something else.