In We Wanted to Be Writers, John Irving said that he wrote a novel by writing the last line first.
“I work my way backward from the end of the novel,” he says, “which is the first thing I know, to what the first chapter should be. By the time I write the first sentence, I have a virtual road map of the whole novel—either in notes or in my head.”
Have you ever felt lost when you’re about to begin writing prose, a story, an essay, a novel? And have you ever thought of beginning writing with your last line instead of your first line?
I feel as if this is something that would not only work for writing but would work nicely in life as well.
Instead of being stressed about how to start, where to go, what to do first, I sometimes sit silently for a while and just focusing my mind on what I would want to see at the end of all this.
Where do I want to see myself at the end of this year?
How would my to-do list look like if I managed to finish all my projects?
What would be the feeling I get from seeing my room clean and decluttered?
What if we can start writing our last line and working backward?
Because as it is in life, sometimes it’s easier for us to see the threads connecting those random incidents in our past from a higher place where we’re standing now: one month later, one year later, three years later.
And suddenly everything seems like falling into place, eventually.