Day 5 Challenge: Prepare
Day 5 in Jeff Goins’ “Great Writers Series” 15-day Challenge presented us with the challenge of preparing something to send off. He says ‘real preparation’ is when we build “measurable momentum.” I take this to mean we are practicing our craft everyday, as days can be measured. I must say, this challenge has certainly given me the momentum I needed to get going. And with such an encouraging and supportive community of aspiring writers that exists on Goins’ blog, it’s easier to do so.
What I am preparing to put out is a piece I wrote for Prodigal Magazine that I’m super excited about. I get it now – the point is not for my work to be accepted or even praised… the point is to do the work and put it out there for others to see, regardless of how it is received. That is not something I can ever control, or have to. It should not be my main focus. The writing should be.
Goins said something in his ‘Day 5′ post that will help me immensely in this process: “You don’t need to know everything, just the next step.” So often my stalling or avoidance of the work was the result of becoming overwhelmed by a writing project. I tend to zoom in on one aspect of it and over-research it to the point where I either lose interest, or am completely paralyzed to move forward. The reason was exactly what Goins points out: I thought I had to know everything about it before I began.
For instance, when I first had a desire to write a children’s book, I started off by going to the library and checking out 5 or 6 books on the topic (how-to’s), jotting down story ideas, attending mini-conferences, joining a children’s book writer’s (CBW) critique group, and registering online with a society for CBWs. This spanned the length of a few months. And in that time, did I ever once sit down to actually write a story? Nope… I merely prepared, hoped to, anticipated it.
I wanted to “research” first; to know all I could of the subject in order to be better equipped to write something amazing. Looking back I see how that was merely a wise trap constructed by Resistance – that powerful hidden force Pressfield talks about which keeps us from doing our necessary work. How insidious its intention, how damaging its effect.
If I can go to bed thinking, “Today I did my work and ignored the alluring voice of Resistance,” I will consider that day… successful.