For a while now, I’ve been feeling it, that nudge behind my ribs, the little tickle that means I have a new book idea I’d like to take on. On Monday, I felt it – Today is the day I’ll start. . . . and here, now, on Wednesday, I have not yet started. I imagine you can relate.
In my head, I say things like, “Well, after we go to Alaska.” (T-must 17 days). Or I’ll start on the first of the month, which is, of course, when we’ll be in Alaska. Or this book might make more sense if I wrote it over the course of a calendar year, so January 1 would be a good start date. . .
The truth is, though, that all of these ideas are just excuses to not start. I am a person who likes order and lots of it, so these dates appeal because they are orderly . . . but writing is not an orderly process. It can’t be. It has to be made of loops and chaos and tangents that lead nowhere and to that red flower of awesome that we didn’t know was around that bend.
No day is ever going to be perfect enough in terms of my psychological calendar. The truth is that there’s only one perfect day to start something new – today.
Your struggle about starting – or re-starting for those of us who put down projects – may have to do with young children at home or a heavy workload at your day job. You may be waiting for school to start or this one project to be done. Or maybe you’re going to organize your closet first. Or maybe just finish canning all the tomatoes. Or find the perfect title for your book. Or just read one more article. Or one more book. Or subscribe to one more writing blog. Or maybe . . .
You get it, right? There is ALWAYS going to be something that gets in the way of the perfect time to start.
So today, maybe you can try this:
- Set a tiny goal – 15 minutes. 150 words.
- Pick a place you love that’s easy to reach. Put your favorite mug of your favorite thing nearby.
- Choose a pen that’s awesome and some nicely-textured paper. Or open a blank screen over your beloved desk top.
- Then sit down, and do it. Your goal. Today.
When you’re done, you’ve started. See how easy that was? Nothing to it, and still, the children are at school and the tomatoes can be canned and you can maybe even get the oil changed in your car. It’s possible to write and do other things – every writer does. You just have to start.
I’m following my own advice, by the way. The farm book begins today.
What are the reasons you don’t start or restart your writing?