Writing the first words of anything can be both exciting and terrifying. It is exciting because you don’t know where those first words are going to take you. It is terrifying because you don’t know where those first are going to take you. Whether you are writing an essay or a novel, those first words are undoubtedly the beginning of a great adventure.
When we learned about essay writing in school we often heard the same thing every year from every teacher. The beginning of your essay needs to ‘hook’ the reader. While this is obviously true as you want your reader to be interested enough to keep reading, the idea that you need to ‘hook them’ puts a lot of pressure on you, the writer. When I would try to write an essay the beginning was usually the last thing I wrote. I would work on the body paragraphs and the conclusion and then figured out my ‘hook’ at the end. The reason for this was because I always found the beginning to be the most frustrating aspect to write. There was so much pressure to make it good; to make it interesting enough that people would want to continue reading. This is why I always waited until the end to write the beginning. If the rest of the essay was done then there seemed to be less pressure on writing the beginning. The hook would come easier once I knew what the rest of the essay was talking about. Of course, writing first words is not always such a chore.
As someone who spends a significant amount of time writing fanfiction, I find that the first words can also come quite easily. Sometimes I will be watching something and an entire story will form itself in my head. I will have the first words all ready to go and I will be excited about it. This is a case where the first words are exciting as opposed to terrifying. Whether I know where the plot is going or I have no idea, those first words are the start of something great. Similarly, when I start writing a novel, after the outlining and the planning is done, the first words I write are the ultimate adventure.
Unlike writing an essay or fanfiction, writing the first words of a novel is an exhilarating feeling. While you may plan and outline for days, maybe even months, there is no certainty that you will stick to that exact plan. Once you get started, and those first words are on the page, there is no telling where it may go from there. Those words might even change. You might decide they aren’t the right words, I’ve done this many times and kept everything I’ve written except the first words.
There is no real way of telling how your essay or story might go. When you write those first words it may be one of the most exciting things you do or one of the most frustrating things you do (I find this also depends on your reason for writing. An essay for school is significantly less exciting than fanfiction). Whatever you are writing and whatever your reason for doing so, I can assure you that that it will be a great adventure.
How do you find it when writing the first words? Is it more exciting or scary?