“How’s your next novel going?” a friend of mine asked this week, referring to Blake Jordan #4, the next book in my thriller series that I plan on writing. It’s the question a lot of my readers have had.
I explained that I’m halfway done outlining and told him how I try hard to outdo myself with each new novel that I write and, because of that, I want my outline to be perfect before I start. I also shared how, no matter how many novels I’ve written in the past, I still feel like I’m standing on the edge of impossible before I decide to commit to the hard work of actually getting the book done.
He just looked at me confused, shook his head, and decided to speak some truth into my life by telling me a story about a conversation between Stephen King and another writer who, similar to me, wanted everything to be perfect before he’d begin. “Just start writing,” was the advice King gave and, in a subtle way, was advice my friend was now giving me. “Even if it’s bad. Just start…”
It reminded me of the debate that happens in any good novel. Shortly after a story begins, there’s a letter that arrives in the mail… or a phone call… or a knock at the door… something that represents a call to adventure for the hero before he decides to go on the journey. The hero debates the call to adventure to show the reader just how difficult the road is going to be, and they also have to reject the call at first, because to the hero, what needs to be done just seems too impossible to accomplish. I’m not the guy for this. I’m not qualified. I can’t do what’s being asked of me are the typical reactions the hero has before deciding to walk through the doorway of no return. But walk through he must. And he won’t return home until he accomplishes that impossible goal.
This morning, I stepped through the doorway of no return. I heard the door slam shut behind me as I passed through. And now, the only way I can ever get back home again, is to ‘just start writing.’