Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Beginnings - Friend or Foe

By Tamara Girardi

Here's the thing about new beginnings. I'm not sure if I should dread them or relish them. Of course as my grandmother always said, "Circumstances alter cases."

For instance, I drove to Indiana University of Pennsylvania today to buy my books, submit paperwork, drop off library books, pick up graded papers from professors, etc. I spent all of June and all of July in IUP classrooms and the library. It was intense and impossible to reflect upon because I was so in the moment.

Then I was blessed with three weeks off. And now, what? I have to go back to begin a new semester? Impossible.

Yet, I have those new books. There's excitement over the promise of learning.

New beginnings with writing are similarly dependent on situations. We can be positive in that we welcome a new beginning every day we return to the page. But many writers say that's the hardest part - actually sitting down. Once you're there and in the moment (there's that phrase again), words begin to flow.

What about the new beginning of kicking off a fresh project? Gulp. Sound scary? Writers spend months, years, even decades working on one book, and then suddenly it's time to move on. Make a new start. How terrifying is that?

Writers admit to fears of whether they can ever craft anything else. Then again, what if that new project is the one that scores the agent, hits the bestsellers list, rolls in the millions (whether you laughed at that last possibility or believed it could prove true for you might classify your place in the following discussion).

Maybe the votes tallied for new beginnings being dreaded are equivalent to those tallied for glasses of water being half empty. Same may go for half-full kind of folks and those who relish new beginnings. Of course, nothing's ever that simple. Life is not dichotomous. There are fields of grey and infinite spectrums.

So where do you fall on the spectrum? Are your new beginnings half empty or half full (pay no attention to the mixed metaphor behind the sheer curtain)?

*I'll be spending the day at the lake with my family, so apologies for not being around to respond to comments most of today.


Jenna said...

I'm a half full sort of girl, definitely. Tend to see the bright side. Almost always think that this new idea will be the one to bring in the millions. Psyched as all get-out to start a new project or a new chapter in life. Nervous, sure; that comes with the territory. New things are scary. But new beginnings are awesome!

Enjoy the lake, my sweet. I plan to enjoy the peace and quiet!

Laurissa said...

Depending of course on the circumstance, I get excited about the prospect of a new beginning and would conside myself a glass half full person.

Enjoy the lake!

Gina said...

I like new beginnings, too, although they can be a bit intimidating.

When I began taking courses at Pittsburgh Filmmakers a few years ago, I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to handle the technology and the fact that most of the other students and even most of the instructors are much younger than I am. That was 5 classes ago - mostly screenwriting, but also two production classes (i.e., classes in which I had to make short films using film and digital cameras and photo and film editing software). Now I'm about to start another class in September and I can hardly wait.

Annette said...

Excellent question, Tamara. On first impulse, I wanted to say that I enjoy new beginnings. But I've had to face a bunch of them lately, and frankly, I'm sick of them. I'm ready to settle into a tried and true routine for a while.

And I do so loathe writing the first chapter of a new novel. I'm finally get comfortable with my current WIP now that I'm on chapter five.