I have not, nor will I ever jump out of a plane of my own volition. Nevertheless, I imagine the sensation of getting ready to jump is very much like the feeling I have right now. (My, that really sounds like I’m about to give some kind of grand revelation. Slight spoiler: I’m not.) The wide, blue sky that I’m staring into right now is chapter one of my next book.
I’ve done as much preparation as I can manage right now. Sure, there are other things I could do to get ready, but I’m getting restless, and I think that’s a good sign that it’s time to launch myself at the story.
And dwelling on other possible preparatory steps would be giving more credence to the delusion that there is an established methodology that I have to strictly follow. Oh, I’m not arguing against readiness or doing your homework, but most of the time art is more a collection of rituals and superstitions than a science. You learn, with practice, which routines encourage your creative process, and which ones have almost no return on time and effort invested. then you reach into your juju bag, pull out a handful of spells and charms, and throw them into the cauldron. Hopefully something good bubbles up.
But enough of this second, intruding metaphor, and back to the airplane and our nervous jumper. That brave and slightly foolish adventurer is at the yawning open door, and the only choice left is jump or quit. So he steps forward into the air. Though he’s pretty sure that the jump will go according to plan, and he’ll end up safe on the ground, there’s still fear. That’s the same fear I have right now: that I’ll jump into chapter one and halfway down my parachute will detach and flutter away, sending me hurtling to the literary earth as a bad art dirt torpedo.
I know that I’ll learn a whole lot from the experience, even if it goes terribly. And despite the cold feet, I’m going to jump, but I really hope I don’t end up landing in a field full of cow patties