The beginning is the doorway to the unknown.
For those who are analytical or tend towards perfectionism, much mental analysis tends to happen before actually getting started with writing. The fear or discomfort is often around the uncertainty.
Like you know you want to tell a story but you’re not sure how to start. You fear failing. You question if you’re a good enough writer. You worry about being terrible with revision. You shudder at the thought of sharing the story with an audience.
But nothing really matters beyond starting! Because that’s where you are at this moment. And often, this current moment is what really matters.
If you haven’t started, you haven’t run into the problems you’re worried about yet.
Finding enough time to write the whole thing, knowing how to revise to a final draft, sharing something that feels too raw… you don’t even have a draft to work with!
The more you work on something, the more you learn.
When you have a project you want to start but it seems too daunting to actually sit down and put pen to paper… know that it does get easier.
As you go, you get information about what’s worked well and what hasn’t worked as well.
Think of it like an experiment. You try something, reflect on what happened, and set intentions to improve future outcomes.
This releases the fear and stress about something five steps away from where you are right now.
In this way, you’ll discover whether you need help, and exactly what type of help would be most useful.
If revision or sharing feels too complicated, it’s probably not the right time yet.
Analysis paralysis is super common, so please don’t beat yourself up for it.
I invite you to take a breath. And check in with yourself.
Is now the right time to get started?
- At this current moment in time, do you have something that feels important to say? See if your body says yes (you feel expansive and excited) or no (you feel contracted and uneasy). Okay, that’s good information.
- If it’s a no–you don’t have anything that feels important to say in this moment–honor that. There may actually be nothing to do, to work on, to accomplish, to fixate on creatively at this moment. This might mean it’s time to rest or reset.
- If it’s a yes–you have something that feels important to say–do you feel like at this moment you can write? See if your body says yes or no. Again, good information.
- If it’s a no–you can’t write at this moment–honor this and check back later today or tomorrow.
- If it’s a yes–you do feel like writing at this moment–how long would feel good to write? (It might be a good idea to check your calendar at this point!) This might look like 10 minutes. It might be an hour.
- Well, what are you waiting for? Go write!
Beginning can have a lot of worries tied to it, but ultimately it’s just like anything else.
Can you fail a beginning? Sure. But failing provides wisdom–fertile soil for fresh starts.
Not having anything on paper means that a lot of the spinning happening in your mind is just over-analysis that isn’t as productive as it can feel like!
One baby step of starting can lead to a second draft, which leads to a third, and before you know it, you’ve got a complete piece you’ve created with your bare hands.
There’s no “perfect time” to start.
So why not start now on the things that feel important?