Stephen King’s The Gunslinger begins, “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” Man, what an opening line. (What a great book, too; the first one’s by far my favorite of the Dark Tower series.) I get hung up on beginnings when I’m writing, even the fluffy pop culture stories that aren’t much more than a whiff of personal commentary on a story that’s already been published all over the web. If I can just get the first few sentences out, however crappy they may be, I feel a sense of momentum and I lose that ever-present fear that this time I will finally have run out of words.
Somewhere along the line I lost sight of the fact that this is my personal playground, a place where I can write what I want and it doesn’t have to be formatted, tagged, and summarized in an SEO-friendly linkbaity headline. It doesn’t have to have a perfectly-sized image, the intro paragraph doesn’t have to grab you, the closing line doesn’t have to be a comment-begging question. Best of all, it doesn’t much matter if it gets read or not.
If beginnings are hard, endings are even worse. The fun part, the part that always makes the screen drop open to that place where everything just flows and I get the sense that I’m along for the ride rather than pushing myself along, is right in the middle. Let’s take this place and go there more often.