Today I am stuck. I am in the early stages of writing the next Leah Nash mystery, and I know what the two main threads of the story are. I know how they will come together. I know who died and why.
I’ve done all the research, I’ve written all the backstories, figured out where and how the various suspects connect, and yet I’m hesitating. My ability to generate excuses for not actually writing is boundless. I need more research. I need a more detailed outline. I need more colored markers. I have to clean my closet. (That last one shows the level of my urge to procrastinate).
It’s the same thing each time I start a book. I’m excited to move into a world that is familiar, but different from mine. I’m eager to once again inhabit the mind of a character who is not me, but part of me. But like a skydiver before she leaps out of the plane, I am paused on the precipice of unknown outcomes. Will I land safely in the drop zone, or will I get caught in the metaphorical branches of a miscalculated plotline, or even worse will I crash to the ground in a tangle of poorly conceived characters and improbable clues?
The journey into the unknown is always daunting for me, as I am not an adventurous type by nature. In fact, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being Marco Polo and 1 being Emily Dickinson, I’m probably hovering at about 2.5. I always have to fight the urge to stay in a perceived safe place, in life, and in writing. The Mock Turtle’s advice in Alice in Wonderland has a certain resonance for me:
There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England, the nearer is to France—
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?
Regardless of how this next work comes out, it’s time to join the dance in earnest, leap from the plane with abandon, push off from the shore, and trust that all will unfold as it should. I’ll keep you posted on how the adventure is going.
This post (with minor edits) appeared on the website several years ago. As I force myself to move from planning and prewriting to actual writing of the fifth Leah Nash mystery, unfortunately, it still rings true. 😉