It took two-plus years but I finally started writing.
Well, I’ve been writing on this blog for years. I’ve written our newsletter to you for years. But I’d been avoiding the serious, deep work of writing my first book for over two years.
I’d tried to start (more than once) and stopped.
I wrote outline…after outline…after outline. I have sketches of chapter ideas, and I have a full page of iPhone notes with proposed book titles. I researched other books in the same genre I wanted to write about. But do you know the one thing I didn’t do?
It’s funny how many “necessary” actions we can take before doing the work we actually need to be doing.
I knew I needed to the write the book – it was a necessary step toward some very specific goals I plan to reach before turning 40 – but I found a multitude of reasons that today “wasn’t the best time” to start.
I even told myself (multiple times!) each week that I “really should start writing that book.” Yet when push came to shove, I found other items on a to-do list to focus on that I tried to justify as “more important.”
Well, I know I should write today, but I really need to finish this shirt design and oh yea, that pile of laundry.
If I start today, I’ll be one day closer to finishing the book, but I really should finish this (short-term) project over here.
Maybe I should research today what type of software I need to write the book on today? I can’t write it until I know what program to write it on, right?
I finally came to a point this week where I realized that I was simply delaying the most important work I needed to be doing. I can’t reach my 5 year goals without having authored a book, and I can’t author a book unless I start writing.
So Thursday morning, I opened a blank Microsoft Word document, stared at my blinking cursor, and started writing. I shared my goal on Facebook (complete the book my October 22) and tagged friends that I knew would hold me accountable to writing a minimum of 400 words a day until I was done.
Sometimes we have to just do the work.
Every big, audacious goal requires an investment from us. Sometimes it requires a large investment of time, like writing a book. Sometimes it requires courage to take the first step into a gym for the first time. And sometimes the goal requires we swallow our pride and start ugly, slow, or inexperienced.
The investments are uncomfortable. We know deep down we need to make the investment, but we more often than not, give into our fears of how much work it’s going to take or question if we even have what it takes to complete.
So instead of doing what we know we need to, we choose easy distractions and create excuses to justify their importance. We sacrifice reaching our true long-term goals for short-term quick-fixes that we talk ourselves into believing matter.
(Hint: Most of the time, they don’t.)
You don’t need the latest and greatest tools. You just need to do the work.
There is great software available to help authors script out their next book. I could spend hours reviewing each platform, testing which I liked the most. Would it be nice to have? Absolutely.
Do I need it to write a book? Nope.
Would it be great to have the latest barbell to work on improving your olympic lifting? Absolutely.
Do you need it? Nope.
There’s always something better you could be using or working with than what you have – but if you were honest, do you actually need it? Of course not.
You just need to start doing the work.
You will always be able to find an excuse as to why you “need” to procrastinate doing that which you know you need to. “Tomorrow” always sounds like a better time than today. “That” equipment could be so much better than what you have now.
But the truth is: tomorrow is never a better time than today, and your equipment works just fine for what you need.
You just have to make the time to do the work.
It doesn’t get easier. You’ll always find excuses. But you eventually realize – unfortunately for most people after it’s too late – that you’ll never get to your goal unless you take action.
Things don’t “just happen.”
We either take action toward the things we want every day until we reach them. Or we don’t – and then look back and wonder why we never achieved the things we wished we had.
My “Opening Day” was Thursday when I started writing. I hope your Opening Day becomes today, when you’re reading this.
Because talking about it, planning for it, dreaming of it won’t make what you need to do most, happen.
Taking action will.