Anna Paulson interns for Julie Klassen. She graduated in May from Concordia University, St. Paul with a degree in English.
Ernest Hemingway hunted lions in Africa and fought bulls in Spain, but when asked about the most frightening thing he had ever faced, he answered, “A blank sheet of paper.”
As a writer and a recent college graduate, I relate to the anxiety of a white canvas fraught with possibilities. At my commencement ceremony, mingled joy and apprehension stretched taut on the air as I awaited my diploma with fellow graduates. It was the dawn of our careers, but also the end to college and preparing for the “real world.” Like cannonballs launched into space, we had survived the pressure and built the momentum to blast into the rest of our lives. Now, we only sought a place to land.
In a similar manner, taking ideas and scripting them into words means ending the fantasy and beginning the reality of novel-writing. I think most writers are perfectionists. We have a vision. We desire to convey that vision. But we are scared. We make excuses. We cannot…quite…begin.
Mark Twain once remarked, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” As author and mentor Julie Klassen has taught me, while it is important to brainstorm ideas and research your topic, at some point, it comes down to beginning to write your own words.
What helps you to jump into a blank page? What encouragement or advice might you give a future author? Is there something you wished you had known when you graduated from college?