Big Creative Projects Take a Leap of Faith

It’s Day 3 of NaNoWriMo (the challenge: write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days), and I am having the usual early day struggles. Because I don’t plan ahead, I have to do a lot of brainstorming and heavy thinking between writing sessions. In the past, I’ve had my story idea arrive as late as November 1st, and found myself scrambling to catch up.

This year is no different. All through October, I was happily looking forward to the creative chaos I knew was coming in November. I was hoping to plan ahead a little, but whenever I looked over my list of story ideas, nothing spoke to me. I had to dig through old notes regarding stray ideas until I finally found one that made me go “Hmmmm”. By then of course it was Halloween night, and November was mere hours away.

The first days of a big project are always hard. I stare at the computer screen and realize I have no idea what I am doing. I remind myself of what little I know (I’m writing science fiction, and I’m stealing some details from Grimm’s version of Brier Rose, aka Sleeping Beauty, to generate a story.)


I pick a name out of the air and start writing.

The words come slowly at first. My ideas are hesitant to show themselves, but I keep typing. I ignore the bad wording, the clichés, and the unoriginal ideas. I try not to listen too closely to the argument the teenage girl is having with her parents. It’s about evolution. I’m pretty sure everyone has their facts wrong and that it’s mind-bogglingly dull. But I don’t stop.

Starting a new writing project requires a huge leap of faith for me. All through October I kept thinking “I have no idea what I’m going to write this year” which was followed almost immediately by the thought “No worries! I’ll figure it out when I get there. Something always turns up.” It’s astonishing to me that I have reached this level of faith in my muse, that I can count down the days to the moment of starting, totally uncertain as to what I will be writing about, and still start.

Experience tells me it will get easier. As long as I keep showing up every day and writing whatever comes into my head, all will be well. Eventually, the ideas will fly like feathers in a pillow fight while I type as fast I can to keep from losing a single one.

But those days are not today. Today I have to leap again into the Dark Unknown of my story and take pictures with a flash as I fall. I hope I get some interesting images.

In case you didn’t get the earworm from this post, here’s C+C music Factory performing Things That Make You Go Hmmmm…. A nice dance tune for Monday. Enjoy!

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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