#1 Beginning- I have to admit it is kind of intimidating staring at the blinking curser as it prods almost intrusively at my skill and ability to write. I just dive in. It seems characteristic of me, like jumping off the roof when I was 12, into the make shift snow mound. Now, just like then, uncertainty is less uncomfortable to me than the thought of standing there feeling frozen. When I try to stay in one place and think it over patiently and rationally, I often just talk myself out of things. I’d rather just take a chance and see what happens than spend too much time second guessing myself. I’m not afraid of mistakes, I’ve survived enough of them. I am afraid of feeling stuck. So here I am. I’ve begun to write. I’ve already gotten through a paragraph and it all seems relevant and thought provoking, which is after all what I was going for when I sat down to write my first article for potential publication.
#2 Baby steps- I’ve never done this kind of writing but I’ve always wanted to. “Well,” I think to myself “anyone who’s done anything has never done it before at one point.” This thought is very reassuring to me and so I press on. I have found that whenever I do anything new or exciting, whether it is life changing like a move to a new place, a break up, or perhaps less serious like deciding to take a class or start an exercise routine, it’s best to just take it one tiny step at a time and not get all hung up on the final project or big picture. As the saying goes “It’s progress not perfection.” Most of the time nothing turns out the way you thought it would anyway, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t turn out wonderful or even life changing. The fun part is often getting there and the little-by-little-stuff can be just as exciting as the final step into your original pursuit.
#3 Breaks- I stop writing and go to the store with my honey, due to late night BBQ cravings (an excuse to be outside and around the fire really). All along I’m writing this in my head as we browse the isles at Fred Meyer’s for short ribs and salad dressing. Then I stop. “Wait, this is nice. I should enjoy this”, I think to myself. Sometimes we forget to take brakes when we are excited about doing something for the first time. I often get over involved forgetting to travel back to the surface of reality for a breath of fresh air or a warm moment of clarity. A deep breath is waiting for me here, between all my nerve and ambition, the sound of crackling embers or the plot of my four year old daughter’s day spilling out in broken English and infectious laughter. When I step back into the project later I may have something more to bring with me than if I had just stayed and obsessed.
#4 But-what-if’s- I look over what I’ve already done. I start to get anxious and self-critical and then I stop myself and remember that mistakes are also great teachers. Part of me hopes the editor will reject my pitch and send me off in one of my determined-to-do-this-till-it’s-right mindsets. It’s not enough to start something if I’m not going to give it my all. Sure it’s true not all things are meant to be, but if you don’t try your best and do everything you can to make it work you will never know. I guess that brings me back to the “doing-ness” factor. It is tough sometimes to just get out there and do the stuff you’ve always wanted to do. Whether it’s starting something or ending something. I don’t know exactly what makes it so difficult. Maybe it’s a case of relentless what-if’s rooted in our fears of failure and disappointment? All I know is I’d rather be disappointed than disenchanted, any day.
#5 Balls - I believe we should do the things we want to do even if others warn us not to. Isn’t that what all the greatest do-ers and revolutionists in history have done? Isn’t that how we got here in the first place? Isn’t that what Independence day is really celebrating? We are ordinary people but we can do extraordinary things and lead extraordinary lives, just by indulging our simplest dreams and want-to’s. So I am doing this. Writing a column is one of the many things I’ve always wanted to do and I appreciate you being a part of it. What do you want to do? And what limiting beliefs are stopping you from beginning? I bid you all a good week full of opportunity, change and mistakes to urge your quests to do stuff.