If you’ve been down on yourself for feeling anxiety about getting started on your writing project, just remember Hemingway felt the same way.
How to overcome the fear:
1: Write any first sentence that comes to mind, fully intending to change it later.
2: Don’t start at the beginning. Make a note of what you think should happen in the first chapter, and then start writing chapter two. You can go back later and write chapter one.
3: Warm up by writing a few pages about what happens before the point at which you intend to start your story. You won’t used them, but they will ease you into the story with much less pressure.
There are tips from the great writers (like Twain, Chekhov, Austen, Poe) on how to write well, in my newest book, Your Creative Writing Masterclass. You can get it from Amazon or other booksellers. Practical help from the greats? What better writing coaches could you ask for? (Oh yeah, my bit of the book is showing you how to apply this advice to your own projects.)
PS: the drawing above showed up in the image gallery to which I subscribe but I couldn't figure out what was supposed to be going on. The image tags included the name Max Eastman so I was able to track down the story. Here it is, in part, as reported in the New York Times on August 14, 1937:
Hemingway Slaps Eastman In Face
rnest Hemingway says he slapped Max Eastman's face with a book in the offices of Charles Scribner's Sons, publishers, and Max Eastman says he then threw Hemingway over a desk and stood him on his head in a corner.
They both tell of the face-slapping, but Mr. Hemingway denies Mr. Eastman threw him anywhere or stood him on his head in any place, and says that he will donate $1,000 to any charity Mr. Eastman may name--or even to Mr. Eastman himself--for the pleasure of Mr. Eastman's company in a locked room with all legal rights waived.
Mr. Eastman's most recent book was "The Enjoyment of Laughter," published by Simon & Schuster.
He was sitting in Max Perkins's office at Scribner's Wednesday--Mr. Perkins is editor for that firm--discussing a new book called "The Enjoyment of Poetry," when Mr. Hemingway walked in, he said yesterday.
Using a few "Death in the Afternoon" phrases in what he describes as a "kidding manner," Mr. Hemingway commented on an essay by Mr. Eastman that had been entitled "Bull in the Afternoon."
Mr. Eastman had written:
"Come out from behind that false hair on your chest, Ernest. We all know you."
The volume containing this essay happened to be on Mr. Perkins's crowded desk, "and when I saw that," says Mr. Hemingway, "I began to get sore."
Writers Compare Chests
In what he hoped was a playful manner, he said, he bared his chest to Mr. Eastman and asked him to look at the hair and say whether it was false.
He persuaded Mr. Eastman to bare his chest and commented on its comparatively hairless condition.
"We were just fooling around, in a way," Mr. Hemingway said yesterday. "But when I looked at him and I thought about the book, I got sore. I tried to get him to read to me, in person, some of the stuff he had written about me. He wouldn't do it. So that's when I socked him with the book."