Last week I sat down to write a new chapter for my work-in-progress but couldn’t figure out where to start. One of the downsides of being a pantser. I stared at the white page and stuck out my tongue in disgust. Then I told the computer what I thought. “I have plenty of other things to do. You’re boring. I’m out of here.”
I grabbed my to-do list and headed out the door. Somehow having my day outlined felt comforting. At least I knew I would accomplish something. My feeling of triumph was quickly dashed when I hit a road closure on the way to the first stop on the list. I told myself, “No biggie, I’m off to number two.” On the drive to stop number two, I realized I had forgotten the reason I was headed to the store. Oops, hard to return a non-existent item. My luck seemed to be failing me again. Then I thought what if I start at the bottom of the list instead?
From that moment on my day flew by. I checked five things off the list and felt great. When I got home I jogged up the stairs to the office and plopped myself down in the chair. The white page still stared back at me—but not for long. I knew how I wanted to end the chapter. So I scrolled down to the bottom of the page and wrote backwards. I never felt so free. The words poured out of me and after an hour I had the whole chapter blocked out—like magic.
The blank page will never haunt me again. I learned an important lesson. Sometimes you need to do things backwards to move forward.