My novel began without a title. The words simply flowed. I didn't worry about what to call this creation burgeoning within my mind and on the page. The idea was there, the characters, the storyline… But when it came to capturing everything in a title, the angst reared its ugly head. Capturing the essence of hundreds of pages in a few simple words is a daunting task. Those words are going to either attract or drive away potential readers, I say to myself in a quiet panic.
To ease my anxiety over the title issue, I settled on a sort of "placeholder" and figured I had plenty of time to worry about the real one. Plenty of time until right now…
So what do I do? Probably the worst possible thing: I chastise myself for not coming up with a title that I see as gripping as "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" or "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Then I see complaining isn't going to get me very far. I realize that comparing my ideas to the titles of internationally acclaimed novels will continue to make me feel worse rather than better. I resist the temptation to study the best sellers list and feel inferior.
Instead, I assemble words on a page, team up with a thesaurus, return to the words assembled on the page, think, mix and match, think some more… I send a few possibilities off to my agent and promise myself I won't be devastated if he sends me back to the drawing board.
And I breathe a sigh of relief as I think of my current projects, which by some miracle, each began with a title.