A few months ago I began life drawing. It's fun, creative and challenging all at the same time. There is only one problem. I can’t draw. Despite loving art, I have never drawn in my life (unless you count school art classes). So when I sit down to draw there is always a voice inside me that says ‘you can’t do this, you are not an artist, you can’t draw’. My answer to that voice is ‘I know but I am going to try anyway’.
Writing is the same. Whenever I'm about to begin writing there is a voice that tells me ‘you can’t do this, you are not a writer, you don’t even know where to begin’. Again, my answer is ‘I know but I am going to try anyway’. I have to block that voice out and ask myself: what is this story about? What am I trying to say? what is the best way to write this? I don’t bother to argue with the voice. I concentrate on the doing rather than thinking about the doing. I put down one word after another and before long I’m writing. It’s not until I finish that I stop to think, ‘I did it’ and then, good or bad, it’s done. My drawing is terrible but I’m seeing improvement every week and the most important thing is I’m enjoying the process. I’m embracing the difficulty rather than running from it.
One of my favorite quotes from our author interviews is from fantasy writer Jennifer Wilson who said ‘I stopped saying I can’t and started doing it. I have been writing with fervent passion ever since. Sometimes we are the biggest thing holding ourselves back’. Far too many of us get in our own way. Self-doubt tricks us into inaction. It makes picking up that pen so much harder than it needs to be. The fear of putting yourself out there never really goes away but you can get used to dealing with it. Start it now. Before you feel ready. Before you have a chance to overthink it.
Analyzing what you have to do, making more plans for your plans, lists of your lists, will simply freeze you up. Start small and scrappy and keep going. It doesn’t have to be the best book in the world. It just has to be written. Next time you find yourself holding yourself back, procrastinating, telling yourself you can’t or questioning your ability, don’t bother to argue with your own inner voice. Simply take action. Do it anyway.