The blank page is your adversary, the pen your sword. But this is not a battle that can be won with might. It is less a duel, more a dance. Unable to find the rhythm, you falter. Your first advance glances off the surface of your thoughts, failing to penetrate to the deeper truth. You’ve missed the connection with your partner – your muse – and your words lie awkward and stilted on the page, a childish attempt to capture the grace of the fencer, the artistry of the dancer.
You retrace your steps, backing over those first words, setting up to try again. False start after false start leaves you exhausted and disoriented. The idea, once so beguiling, that lured you to the dance floor has left you standing out there alone. The music is playing. Everyone is watching. You know that the dance commences with a first step, but you have lost your way.
You don’t know how to begin.
It’s ok. Everything will be all right.
A dance is just a dance. A story is just a story. You can begin anywhere.
Begin with your mother’s blueberry pie.
Begin with the vibration of yellow birch leaves against a sharp blue October sky.
Begin with your first Valentine.
Begin with your last kiss.
Begin with the letter you wrote, but never sent.
Begin with the words you said, but wish you hadn’t.
Begin with a broken arm, a broken promise, a broken heart.
Begin with a frog prince.
Begin with a princely frog.
Begin with hope or tragedy or joy.
Begin with the lunchbox you had when you were eight.
Begin with the house you thought you’d have by now.
Begin with a secret.
Begin with the story your father used to tell you at bedtime.
Begin with a riddle.
Begin with murder.
Begin with a magic word.
Begin with an ordinary day.
Begin with the footfalls of a cat.
Begin with a letter in a bottle.
Begin with the color red.
Begin with a dandelion.
Begin with a subway ride.
Begin with the sound of water dripping.
Begin with someone saying hello.
It doesn’t really matter where you begin, just that you begin. The dance and the story both go on and on forever. There is no real beginning and no real ending. You can cut in at any point along the way. There is no wrong first step. The only mistake you can make is failing to begin.
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.