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Is it really important to start at the beginning?

Call me crazy, but I love reading books from successful authors about their writing process! There’s always so much to learn.

Recently, I’ve been re-reading of a book from one of my favorite fantasy authors, Terry Brooks. The book is called “Sometimes the Magic Works : Lessons from a writing life”.

There is one section of this book that I had totally forgotten about since the last read through, which was probably at least 5 years ago now.

It’s a small section about story beginnings. When I read it last night, it just clicked with me. I grabbed a quick snapshot with my phone and then put the book down, thinking more about what I had just read.

Here’s the passage:

“But the truth is nothing starts at the beginning,…Everything starts in the middle of something else, and that’s where it ends, as well. So you might as well jump in somewhere interesting…”

Terry Brooks – Sometimes the magic works : Lessons from a writing life

That section really got me thinking.

Not just about writing, but all of my creative projects.

There is no “Perfect” beginning

How many times have I been in the thinking/planning phase of some new project and been staring at that blank page trying to figure out how to begin? Struggling because, as Mr. Brooks said, “We want to start where it all happens first so we don’t leave anything out.”.

The overwhelming desire to make sure that we find the TRUE beginning so that the reader/viewer/listener KNOWS that they aren’t missing a single detail.

Meanwhile, the stark truth is that everything starts in the middle of something else.

If we start chasing down the rabbit hole of finding the TRUE beginning we’ll have a million unconnected stories to tell before we even get to the story we are wanting to tell.

So next time you find yourself trying to figure out where to start, just pick the most interesting moment and dive in headfirst.

We might as well start with something fascinating and let the story unfold from there.

The book again is:

Sometimes the magic works : Lessons from a writing life by Terry Brooks

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