I think I might be going to blog about writing the book I’m about to begin. And if I am, here’s the first of these blogs. (If I’m not, here’s a one-off.)

Maybe it will be about process. Maybe it will be about the book itself. Maybe it will be about me and writing. It’s my 17th novel, at this stage, while it’s still unwritten, I’m as interested in the process of getting it started, getting it going, as I am of finding out what it is, what the book is. Writing the book, the first draft at least, will show me what it is – and, no doubt, quite a lot of what it is not.

Tomorrow morning I’m starting my new book. I’ve been working towards starting one of two new books for a few months and now I know which one I’m starting and so I am starting it. I am therefore interested (do I remember how to do this?), excited (oh yeah, this, I get to sit at home some of the time and do THIS!), and nervous. The night before a writing day I get nervous.

About four years ago I recognised that nervous for what it is – it’s stage fright. I know what stage fright is, I’ve been an actor, still perform sometimes, make speeches/keynotes quite a lot for Fun Palaces, I know what stage fright feels like. And this fizzy, uncertain, tense, nervous-and-going-ahead-anyway feeling is that. As I no longer write every day (because I work on Fun Palaces about half of my time) I’m more clear about this feeling – I realised it often comes the night before a full day or half day free to write. And when I realised that, I remembered I have ALWAYS felt this way about writing – about to begin (a book, a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence), not sure what it will be like, uncertain where it’s going – and beginning anyway.

The pic is to remind me I’ve done it before, even if I have no idea how to do it this time. I have no idea how to do it this time – this is a new book. It will have a different process. Beginning anyway …

ps – if you have a book you’ve been putting off starting, why not start now? You can do it along with me. I’m aiming to write about 3000 words a week, a balance between 1000 words a day on my non Fun Palaces days, or 500 words a day most days. That means I’ll have a first draft done in 9-10 months – which means we can all spend next summer editing and making it better!

pps – it will really help if you have some idea of your story! I’ve already done quite a lot of work on a proposal for this one, worked out a few of the key characters, a few main plot points, though I also know it will change as I get into the story.