Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The First Time All Over Again - CJ Omololu

First word.
First chapter.
First time typing the words 'the end'.
First conference.
First response from an agent.
First 'yes' response from an agent.
First contract.
First cover.
First ARC.
First night sleeping with your book next to you.
First time spotting your book in a store.
First good review.
First bad review.
First angsty phone call to writing buddy while curled in a fetal position on the floor.
First fan letter.
First author visit.
First state list nomination.
First Scholastic book fair.

Writing is full of firsts. Each book is a brand new experience, and no matter how many times you've done it, starting a book always feels like the first time. For me, each time I begin, I try to find ways that work better. In the past, I've used this tried and true high-tech method:

Yep. The old corkboard and index cards. This method has seen me through three different books, and while I like it, there is a lot of repetition. Whenever I change something (and I often move chapters and scenes throughout a draft), I have to re-do the index cards so that I can keep track. I go through a lot of pencils.

I'm starting a new book soon, and I've decided to step into the 21st century, so this will be my first time using actual writing software. I'm told by writing friends that the right software can keep track of all of this stuff automatically and that it will change my life. Bring it on. I'm hoping to write two complete books in 2012 and I can use all the help I can get.

The bottom line is, no matter how you do it, whether you write in a notebook, or on a laptop, whether you use a corkboard or Scrivener, need total silence or music blasting through your headphones, none of the rest of the 'firsts' will exist without that all important first. That first word.

Here's hoping your new year is full of exciting firsts.


  1. I just got Scrivener and I'm trying to figure out how I feel about it. I was in the middle of a project when it arrived, so I think I may not really know how it works until I use it for a brand-new manuscript.

    Here's to the first word!

  2. First words all around! We'll come back and compare Scrivener experiences next month.

  3. Hoping to get further down that list in 2012. And I eagerly anticipate devouring the fruit of your firsts. ^_^

  4. I actually have a bulletin board, but I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I can't hang it up right. I tried hammering in a nail, but it kept falling out and my neighbors threw a fit at the noise. (Yet they think that their blasting music at 2 A.M. is okay.) Anyway, I like your method of the corkboard and index cards. I figure I might try something similar, except I may have to use tape or thumbtacks instead.
    As far as firsts go, I like my first "meetings" with new characters, because it feels like I'm starting new relationships with people that interest me.

  5. Ooh good point - I left out the first inkling of your characters! Its so fun when they show up and you have to figure them out.

    And thanks Angelina ;) Next one's out June 5th!

  6. I love Scrivener's virtual cork board.