Then you’re paralyzed: when do I start? how do I start? You begin to second guess your idea, your plans, your goal.
Doubt sidelined your goal.
For me, taking that first step can be the beginning of failure, and because it is, oftentimes it’s a step I choose not to take.
I signed up for National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, in August or September, I don’t remember. I purchased book-drafting software called Snowflake, and went through every step needed to prepare an outline and/or book proposal for a novel, my second. I was extremely excited about the novel’s concept.
I kept receiving NaNoWriMo emails, counting down the days until November 1st when that novel writing month would commence. The second week of October I questioned the sensibility of subjecting myself to completing a novel in thirty days. The third week of October, I ceased all preparation. Monday of the fourth week of October, I decided not to participate.
But on Friday of that fourth week, I decided I couldn’t tamp down the excitement that began to grow in me – an excitement that was hard to ignore, given the fervor of the countdown emails that continued to flood my Inbox.
So on Sunday, November 1st, I opened a blank Word document, saved it using the temporary title I had chosen for my novel, opened the Snowflake software, placed it right next to the blank document on the screen, and I began to write.
As of November 18th, I’ve written 36,000 out of 50,000 words.
While on my recumbent bike yesterday, I watched an Oprah Master Class episode featuring Robert Duvall. He spoke of the process actors go through to carry out a scene after the Director shouts, “Action!”
This is his theory of how to go about accomplishing a task:
Trick yourself to get a result that’s legitimate. Let the process take you to the result, rather than just going to the result.
Be willing to start from zero and see where it takes you.
A writer starts from zero when she opens a new document on their computer. She can’t complete a manuscript without doing so.
That’s what I did. That’s what you need to do.
Start at your zero, whatever it may look like, but for God’s sake, start.
Your chances of success improve with that very first step.