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Turning On the Faucet


“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” -Louis L’Amour


As I contemplate ideas for my next book, I can easily get overwhelmed when I think about all the hours that will undoubtedly go into the project. I can get stuck thinking about hours spent with white noise playing in my ears (yes, that’s how I work), waking in the night because the plot is unresolved, and the emotional investment into the lives of fictional people who seemingly become as real as you and I. However, the worst thought of all is the prospect of staring at a blank screen, wondering how to get the tornado in my head onto the page.

Here I would like to say a few words about beginnings. Ah, beginnings, what dichotomous little articles they are! Beginnings are exciting. They command all of the hope and wonder of the human spirit. At the outset of a thing, one always seems to have some kind of expectations, even if they are low. There is a feeling of freedom in a beginning because it is something new and the relationship with the old will be changed or left behind. There can be a lot of happiness in the beginning of a thing. However, wise Solomon wrote, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” How can I disagree? Beginnings are very frightening. The feelings generated by the unknown can leave one tangled up in self-doubt. New things are hard because it can be difficult to know exactly what is involved until one is in it.


Whether it is a new job, a new school year, a new relationship, a new adventure, or simply an unexpected change in your life that you are learning to cope with– beginnings are tough. I am in the same boat as all the other newbies as I begin working on the next novel. Someone may say, “But Jenna, you’ve already written one book. This isn’t new for you!” My response is that no two books are the same, and even though I bring the Dunnigan experience with me, I will still be looking at that blank screen when I start writing again. I promise I get it! So if you are contemplating a beginning, this one is for you. I am with you in spirit as you “turn on the faucet.”




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