In my experience, the most difficult moment in writing is always found on the first page. And the single, hardest word to write is always the first word.
It doesn't matter if I'm typing a simple blog post or starting a new novel... page one, word one is torture. It is a trap fraught with fear, doubt, and procrastination. It is the event horizon of the writer's black hole, and once you cross that threshold, you will be carried inextricably down to some unknown, unavoidable conclusion.
In the last year I have experienced great accomplishment. Years of writing and editing and re-writing and re-editing finally bore fruit as I self-published my first two novels. The launch parties, and praise, and holding a physical copy of my book were all lots of fun. I felt like the surfer riding on top of a wave toward shore, carried by the unseen momentum of my finished work.
But now the wave has crested and crashed, and I'm left paddling out again into the surf. I have started two new novels -- the first is my sequel to ANOM: Awakening and the second is a sequel to Kira the Rainbow Princess. In both cases I am gripped by the fear that neither one will be as good as the original. And that fear can be paralyzing.
Of course the fear that I'm talking about -- fear of failure -- is part of the bargain. In any attempt to create something new there is the specter of failure hanging over the attempt. And sometimes that fear is so great, that it's easier to simply never begin. I wonder how many novels were left unwritten because of page one, word one?
I don't know that there is any cure other than the need to tell a story. When the need to write is greater than the fear of failure, you sit down and force yourself to conquer the blank screen. You accept the imperfections of your writing because you trust that an imperfect "something" is preferable to the perfect "nothing" of a blank page. You push the doubts aside and tell yourself it can all be fixed in a second draft.
And then you roll up your sleeves, sit down at your desk, and go to work.
Last year I had the chance to celebrate my writing with my friends and family, but last year is over. Now it's time to go to work.