In order to be a writer, I’m told, you just have to write. So in order to start this book, I just started writing. What was uppermost in my mind was the insomnia that started the whole thing off. I decided I would write the best description of insomnia I could so that anyone who’s experienced might read it and go – yeah that’s just what it’s like. So here it is…the original opening paragraph:
“It’s 3am and I can’t sleep. Time has become a measure of how many hours sleep I will get if I fall asleep right now. My mind, like the clock, doesn’t stop ticking. I don’t know where the off switch is in my head. Looking for it is the very opposite of finding it. The only thing that is going to switch off my head is a spliff. But I’m not succumbing. I knew this would happen. I was expecting it. I knew insomnia would grip me, my brain reclaiming its freedom after 7 years of being in a cannabis fog. I’ve tried to give it up a few times but it’s always the same. The insomnia kicks in and I succumb. Not this time. I’m determined. I’m seeing this through, whatever the outcome.
“I turn over to find a new position, a fresh attempt at getting to sleep. But I know it’s useless. It’s just the same. I don’t know how to relax. Irrelevant sentences chugging around my head, filling the void of night time nothingness. I want them to stop.
“The time pressures of deadlines, the need-it-done-yesterday attitude of working in TV, not feeling good enough, ever fearful that I’m going to be ‘found out’ has put my nervous system on red alert. I’m playing a constant video game: quick responses; instant decisions; no time to hesitate; no time to wait and rest and let the wisdom in.”
Once I’d written this chapter I decided we needed some background on the ‘character’. Where does she live? work? etc…so I added another chapter. If you want to read that opening see this recent post. And then I added another one. See here for the current opening paragraph.
If you’ve read all three different openings I’d love to hear your comments. Which one do you think would be the best opening to the book? And why?