“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.”

Arnold Bennett (British writer)

 As I prepare to turn the final page of the lazy days of summer chapter, nothing signals a fresh start more than the back-to-school shopping and organizing school supplies ritual. There is something motivating about thinking ahead to new goals and exciting challenges with a well-stocked toolbox. Maybe that’s why I like this time of year, with its tangible evidence that there is work to be done.

As my daughter hovered over a table overflowing with colourful pens, pencils, post-it notes and the like, merging her new supplies with the old, I was inspired to clean out some of my desk drawers and fight my way through the infamous “what-do-I-do-with-this-stuff?” box. It was surprisingly satisfying.

The wind is warm as it breezes through the yard. It has been an exceptionally warm summer in my part of the world and there is no question that writing outside is delightfully pleasant. Still, I have to admit that with the warm weather and holidays come distractions. I won’t be sad to welcome the cooler weather with its rigor and routines. And I’ll be happy to curl up by the fire while I summon the muse.

This fall, as I wrap up revisions on a young teen manuscript, I’m anxious to begin a story about a character who has haunted me for several years now. I always shy away from her. Perhaps it is because she is so hard to capture—like trying to photograph a hummingbird. But something tells me that now is the time. And so, even though the destination is unclear, I will, nevertheless, begin the journey…

“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!” 
― C. JoyBell C.



Beginning on that blank page is sometimes easier said than done. How does one that first page? To be honest, I find it easier if I don’t have to start on the first page. Sometimes it’s easier to simply write a scene in which your character will be involved. Take one of the following and use it to begin a scene that involves your character. You don’t have to use it. But you will at least have something written!

  1. The fog is settling. Darkness is falling.
  2. As I came in the door I heard the phone ringing. I rushed over and grabbed the phone off the table. “Hello?”
  3. I had no idea what would happen from here.
  4. “This is the most treasured gift anyone has ever given me.”
  5. “This is my fault,” she muttered.

Published by Lois Donovan

Author of historical time travels, THE JOURNAL and WINDS OF L'ACADIE, Lois is in demand as a speaker/presenter at literary conferences and young writers' conferences and teachers conventions. Lois grew up primarily in Riverview, New Brunswick, but has called Calgary home for many years. Currently, Lois enjoys life in Calgary with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law.

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