There is no worse writing assignment than a book proposal. They're not only tough to write, what with having to cram 300 pages worth of story and concept into a breezy 20-page essay, but they carry huge consequences. As in, if I nail this thing, I don't really have to worry about money for three years.
The only way into it, for me, is to trick myself into it. Lately that means setting aside 20 or thirty minutes, roughly the time it takes to stream a 1973 version of "Dark Star" on the Internet, to write a single sentence. Of course, the sentence comes out about 10 minutes in, and by then I'm into the song, so I keep going, just to have an excuse to listen. By the end, I usually have one paragraph and a first sentence for another.
Proceeding in this fashion, I've managed to amass five pages over the last two weeks. And today, after cobbling together a graph, I glimpsed a link to some stuff I'd written in an earlier draft -- several good, well-polished paragraphs. So I hunted them down and I cut and pasted them in. Now, I think, I am just days away from having a complete introduction. And once that's done, if past experience is any indication, the rest should just sort of fall together.
Until the close. That will be a fresh variety of hell.