Voices from the Workshops: “Write a Beginning”

Note: Occasionally here on carytennis.com we publish raw first drafts written to prompts in our Amherst Writers and Artists workshops; they are not finished pieces, and so are not open to comment, but nevertheless are often interesting to read, and stand as evidence of the kinds of creative acts that occur more or less spontaneously, and often with tremendous energy, in the workshops. Click here to learn more about the workshops.–Cary T.

Well, this prompt is new. The emptiness that precedes the idea can be excruciating. And the idea is not always prompt. But here goes.

Already 3 sentences on my non-idea.

Isn’t that what they claim the brilliance of “Seinfeld” to be? A show about nothing. The first draft about nothing.

8 sentences.

The page almost half full. Anne Lamott says you have to keep your butt in the chair through the shitty first draft. And she’s right. Beginning the piece is the hardest part, committing to an idea and being willing to begin to flesh it out. No guarantees on where it will go.

13 sentences.

All the while beating back the inner critic who says no one will read it or appreciate it or find it clever or interesting. Eking out these first words is a struggle to begin and a triumph when complete.

15 sentences.

Well, it’s a beginning.

Maria Rodgers O’Rourke