Beginning Again {or The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: Starting Over}

drawing board

As I sit and stare in disbelief at the words before me on the computer screen, I am overcome with the reality that I have to begin again.  I had hoped things weren’t really this bad…but it is now quite obvious to me now they are.  In fact, they stink.

At this point, I am unable to pinpoint the exact word, sentence, or paragraph that is the culprit responsible for the demise of my current writing attempt.  All I know is that somewhere along the way I began to develop a slow nagging itch of a feeling.  It was the feeling that I needed to stop what I was doing, and re-read, re-group, re-write or just plain abandon ship.

It may have been after the first three chapters.

Or the first five pages.

Maybe by the time I got to my 180th word, I knew deep down inside that I would be trashing what I had started.

But I stubbornly kept going, kept on writing.  One word lead to the next – a runaway train dangerously gaining speed.  Now I am looking at what I have produced, and I know in my heart of hearts that I will have to begin all. over. again.

I moan with annoyance and frustration.

The thought of starting this story over is so daunting and inconvenient at this point.  I have deadlines for other projects – photographs to edit and work to do.  I mean, I have wasted 2 days here.  Two days of my life that I will never get back.  This also means it will take me another two days to start again and get to the point in the story I wanted to be at today.

Maybe my heart just isn’t into it this time.  This better not be the beginning of a dreaded case of Writer’s Block.


What happened????  I thought I had a strong plot outline.  A solid plot.  I made character charts!  I even put some effort in to a timeline of events to follow.  I planned and prepared by butt off!!

Perhaps I should have consulted all of these tools all little more as I wrote…

Now I have a bunch of characters that may I have created, but do not recognise.  I do not  know who these people who populate my words are, or how I let them get so out of control.  And my bullet proof plot?  It is quickly developing more holes than the asphalt on a neglected highway.

No, I can’t quite tell you the exact moment things started going south – but they did.  So now I have to deal with it.

Starting over isn’t always bad – how many times have you reinvented yourself and felt refreshed by a new beginning?

Do we not rejoice at the first sign of Spring – a time full of life starting anew with fresh, young leaves and buds on plants and trees?

A new start can be as exciting as moving to a new city, or beginning a new job…or even just getting a new hair cut.

a new beginning

But starting a task, a project, an assignment, over again – especially after you thought you had made good progress?  If you couldn’t already tell, this really irks me.

My grandmother once tried to teach me how to knit.  (note my use of the words “once” and “tried”) She gave me a roll of pink yarn, knitting needles and a basic, detailed lesson.  At first, I caught on quickly.  The square she instructed me to make was… well…square in shape and form with nice, neat rows  I happily sat knitting for about 45 minutes or so, gaining more confidence and imaging all the hats and scarves I would soon be producing.  But then I noticed something strange was happening: My square had started to look less square-ish and more like the State of Texas.  Upon seeing my utter dismay at this Texas-shaped square, my grandmother gently reminded me that I could “just rip it all apart and start over again.”

Well, my story has unravelled just as that knitting project, and my whole knitting career,  did.

And so, I must buckle down – again.  I will say good-bye to the horrible mess I have created and go back to a place I have already been with this story:

Square one.

As I hover my mouse over the “new document” icon and click, I am reminded of singer Billy Joel’s opinion on starting over in the song “Begin Again”:

“Yes, I’ve got to begin again.  And it’s hard.”

Yes, Billy – it can be hard indeed.


(My 365 Post Challenge may be done and over with, but I am starting my new chapter this week:  Post A Week, 2013!  Like I mentioned before, I will be focusing mainly on the photography challenges, writing prompt topics and weekly writing challenges throughout the next 12 months.  I hope you will join me in this endeavour – especially with these writing challenges.  Thanks again, Daily Post peeps – this week’s topic was a brilliant choice and really got my creative juices flowing…a great start to get me to my next goal…) 

7 Replies to “Beginning Again {or The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: Starting Over}”

  1. Oh Janice, I completely empathize with this piece. I have turned into such a slow writer, agonizing over every single sentence lest I be drawn off course. I’m so afraid to just blurt it all out, for fear that I will find myself with hundreds of words that I’ll wind up scrapping, it’s become a kind of block…. I think your image of the knitting piece sums it up so perfectly, I can always trace my writing back to that one sentence or paragraph, that one ‘stitch’ in the story where things started to lose shape and become something unintended and… well… wonky!

    I have no advice. Just wanted to say “I hear ya girl, feel your pain…”

    All the best with your unravelling!

    1. Now I am empathising with you! What you described sounds like a tangled web of literary woes! It is hard to figure out the best approach sometimes, especially when the story is just dying to get out of your head. “Re-Write” is my new favourite word….(and yes, an image 100’s of yards of unravelled yarn at me feet springs to mind.)

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here – they say writing is a lonely job, I disagree for this very reason: you can always find someone who is right “there” with you. 🙂

  2. Sometimes the characters take over because you aren’t telling their story. If you start over you can leave them to their own story and start fresh with the one you want to tell.
    A nice new beginning. My Grandma tried to teach me to crochet as they all were brilliant crocheters… I knit. Maybe you are a crocheter, or a weaver. I think it’s supposed to be fun. I hope you will have fun.

    1. Ah, yes – you are right…but is it a matter of re-arranging your plot to fit your characters, or vice versa?
      As for crocheting, my friend once tried to teach me how to do that too…let’s just say I have realised it’s best for me to stay away from knitting needles and crochet hooks. And probably looms too, just for good measure.
      Thank you for your thoughts and giving me something to ponder when I sit back down to deal with my runaway characters. Writing truly is a labour of love. 🙂

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