You begin with a tepid step. Those first words are hard fought and that first paragraph is something to hang onto because you are just beginning and the mountain does look tall. But each word, each sentence, each paragraph is a grappling hook to pull yourself higher and you build it just like that-- one page at a time. I just started a new novel and it is amazing that no matter how many times you do it it is always like starting over. Will this one work? Will this idea carry me through? The same questions every time.
It is the moment of sitting down. You set your coffee to the right, kick off your slippers, your shoes, curl your toes, take a breath and jump off the cliff. You have disconnected for a while and the world is behind you and all that lies ahead is open space. That is what is exhilarating and scary. You can go anywhere you want because there is nothing there. Just the void and it is up to you to create a world out of that void so your reader can follow. So you start building your ladder.
And each day it does become a bit easier because what you did the day before guides you. A tone is quickly set, a character fleshed out, a momentum established, point of view set. You are now getting confident as you sit in the pilots chair and by the third day you have something that is beginning to look like the start of a good novel. You have a long long way to go but you are after one thing and that is to get that first draft finished. So you don't look back, you plunge on, climb on, take off, you push, bully, grapple, claw your way to the end. And then you start back again.
Rocket Man should blast off in February