Taking the PlungeIn September, I turned in the proposal for MUST LOVE DRAGONS, my romantic comedy paranormal that's scheduled for November 2006. When I wrote those first three chapters, I loved the story, thought I was brilliant and sobbed that I couldn't write the whole book right then.
Then, two months later, I get the approval on the story. It wasn't until last week that I finally received my revisions back from my editor. Now that I knew it was approved and knew what direction to head it, it was time to write. After all, it's due February 1st, and that's just over two months away. Throw in the holidays, and it's less than two months. Time to get cracking.
But as I stared at those 50 pages that were already written, my brain totally froze up. I couldn't remember any of the little nuances of the story that I'd set up two months ago. I didn't know where I'd planned to take the story. I had no idea what was supposed to happen next. All of a sudden, those 350 blank pages looked completely daunting. I had no idea where to start. So I didn't.
And then, last Friday, while I was still mucking about in panic and denial about MUST LOVE DRAGONS, I sold two books to HarperCollins for a new teen line. It was an amazing gift to have this opportunity, but also a little nervewracking. Book #1 needed to be turned in by January 15, and I didn't even know the story yet!
So, by then, it was Saturday morning, and the pressure was on. Not only did I have to write 350 pages about dragons, but I also had to write a teen book. Suddenly the pressure loomed even larger. How could I possibly get all this finished? I didn't even know where to start, and the clock was ticking with each moment that I stewed about it. Panic was definitely setting in.
But panic accomplished nothing and provided no inspiration whatsoever, and on Sunday, I sat down and got to work. I revised the original proposal for DRAGONS to get myself thinking, and then I simply plunged in and started writing. I didn't know if it was going to be any good. I didn't know if I was going to keep it or hit the delete key as soon as I finished. But I knew I simply had to get in the game.
And you know what? As soon as I start writing, all the panic and pressure eased. I remembered that I know how to write books. I created a schedule, and I have time to get both books finished, with time off for Christmas. I realized that in dreading the task before me, I'd blown it up into something huge and insurmountable. But you know what? It was totally within my capabilities, and all it took was actually breaking off one small corner and getting to work for me to realize it.
So, what huge project is scaring you right now? The one you've been putting off dealing with becuase it seems like more than you can handle? Yeah, that one. Grab it, plunge in, and don't worry about succeeding. Don't worry if you'll get through it. Don't worry that you're going to do a terrible job. Just simply start tackling it, one small bit at a time. Before you know it, you'll be immersed it and you'll realize it's not so scary after all.
Just do it. I dare you.