It all starts with an idea. What if...?
And then you have a choice -- follow through with the idea, or don't. Not following through is easy. You just have to avoid taking any action.
But following through often means doing something new, stepping out of your comfort zone, taking some sort of risk.
The fun / hard part is having to think about Christmas stuff when in the middle of a heat wave. At this point, "Christmas in July" is a cliche, but I have found myself listening to Christmas carols, and watching Christmas movies to help me get in the mood for my story.
It has definitely been hard to concentrate on Christmas themes with fireworks going off, but it has also been nice to keep some of that holiday cheer up year round. I even have some decorations out for visual inspiration.
Trying something new always feels at least a little risky. And while all writing feels risky, stepping outside of your usual genre or style feels like an even bigger leap than usual. My fear and anxiety is at war with my excitement, and any given day one or the other wins. Good writing days, the excitement wins. Bad writing days, the fear wins.
I find this same fear vs excitement battle happening in other parts of my life, forcing me to take deep breaths, control my catastrophizing thinking, and remind myself that the stakes are not nearly as high as my emotions want me to feel they are.
In the end, I know I will be proud for stepping outside of my comfort zone, whatever happens with the book. That's what I keep holding on to whenever the fear threatens to take over -- there is going to be another side of this feeling. All I have to do is plow through, endure the discomfort, and make it to that other side.
J.M. Phillippe is the author of the novels and the short stories, and . She has lived in the deserts of California, the suburbs of Seattle, and the mad rush of New York City. She works as a clinical social worker in Brooklyn, New York and spends her free time binge-watching quality TV, drinking cider with amazing friends, and learning the art of radical self-acceptance, one day at a time.