There are some things you should definitely *not* do before you’ve really, really perfected the process. Skydiving. Surgery. Operating heavy equipment. Making meringue. But, for most things? Don’t wait. Start.
(I know. Scary!)
People might snicker. Or worse — leave a nasty comment! You say your work is nowhere close to being ready to share? That putting it out there would be a public humiliation akin to accidentally tucking your skirt in the back of your undies? Start anyway.
Why am I being such a bully about it? Three simple reasons:
You’ll never feel ready.
I’m not saying don’t study. But, folks, I sat in workshops, read articles, soaked up craft books, lurked at book signings, and stalked social media accounts, and I still don’t feel ready. I published a book, and I don’t feel ready. You should always do as much as you can to hone your craft, but at some point, you just have to learn by doing. That can be hard for visual types like me. All of the preparation becomes an excuse not to start, and you’ll linger in the learning stage for far too long. Ask me how I know.
I’m so grateful to have an accountabilibuddy. When I tell her I’m feeling full of doubt, she’ll respond, “That’s exactly how you’re supposed to feel!” Listen, if the pros fight their own feelings and wrestle with imposter syndrome, shouldn’t we embrace it? Or, at least give our doubts a nod as we blast past them on our way to achieving our goals.
You’ll learn how along the way.
When I started the rough draft of Waiting for Jacob, I didn’t know how to hire an editor, design a cover, or convert a document into a .mobi file. Shoot, I didn’t even know how the book would end until it was almost done. If we freak ourselves out with a start-to-finish to-do list for every project, it can keep us from using our most powerful resource: today. Use today to do what needs to be done right now. Visualize the various stages of your project, but don’t spend all your time worrying about the parts that stump you. Google and YouTube are your best friends. When you get to a stage that makes your gut roil, take a deep breath, break it into baby steps, and find a YouTube tutorial by someone with a nice voice. (No, it’s not critical, but if they have a sweet voice, I instantly relax and feel like we’re buddies, and it helps me think better.) We live in the information age, and someone has figured it all out and is waiting to point out the way.
You’ll have to do it all over again, anyway.
A lot of times, we get so focused on the current project, we lose sight of the long game. You know what happens when you launch this project, the one you’ve wept over, sung over, prayed over for the last _____ years? You start over again. Back at the beginning.
People have short memories. So whether you’ve got a real masterpiece under your belt or you managed to mess up every step of the process, people will forget. But you’ll keep creating, because that’s what we do. So make it the best work you’ve ever done, and let it loose. Click ‘publish’, hit ‘send’, make the call, send the email. Today. The more you do this, the better you’ll become.
So start now.
It can be scary and embarrassing to share your work–your inner self–with others. But I think it’s much scarier to carry regret. You can do it. And you can start today.
What do you need to do today to get your project back on track?
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