I've discovered that while all writing is difficult, for me the hardest part is the first few chapters of a first draft. I whine and pout and compost and dream, but actually sitting down and cranking out the work is hard. Why is this? I surmise a few reasons.
a) This is my fifth novel. I know all the work that must come between now and the words "The End". Starting means finishing.
b) My inner critic, the one I just let loose on novel number four, must be captured, contained, and confined to the calaboose during the first draft phase of the new novel. My inner critic resists this procedure.
c) The first few chapters of a novel is the period when I know my characters the least, when I have the least invested in them, therefore care about them the least. Though I like all my characters at the beginning of a novel, it isn't until we've spent a significant amount of time together, until I've dragged them to the highs and lows of the story, that I feel I really know them and don't want to quit working until I get them out of the trouble I've dreamed up for them.
That being said, I have managed a few thousand words on the novel, and I need to set some writing goals in the near future to keep myself on track. I have a nebulous goal of First Draft by Christmas, but am wondering if that is too imprecise. I'm liable to goof around and not do much until Thanksgiving is suddenly upon me. A daily or weekly goal will be much better, as long as I keep it realistic.
How about you? Do you have an inner critic that keeps you back at the start of a new book?