What I’m reading: To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
What I’m listening to: No Hard Feelings by The Avett Brothers
Wow. January just slid right by there, didn’t it?
I spent it working remotely and spending time with my ailing father. He’s so ill he probably doesn’t know I was there as long as I was. No matter. I knew.
Today, much like the rest of this week, I’m catching up on projects and getting new ones underway. I’m wanting to launch a new idea, but I know with my current situation, there’s no way I can guarantee my availability for the next few months.
However, you — you, freelance writer, probably don’t have any excuse.
You know the project I’m talking about (I sure don’t, for you’ve not put it out there, have you?) — it’s that one you’ve been fussing over for months, hell, maybe even years.
Yea, that one.
I’ve seen my fair share of fabulous ideas that were just never acted on. Some from me, some from other writers.
It makes no sense. And yet, we continue to do it.
We put it off.
Whether it’s an ebook, a branding campaign, a marketing push, or a novel, today’s your day to recommit to it. I know, I know. You’re not ready. Honey, if you aren’t ready today — four years after you had that idea or finished that book, when the hell do you think you will be?
Let’s find a way to leap off that cliff, shall we? Here are a few things you can do to screw up some courage and get yourself together.
1. Examine your roadblocks.
Your excuse: “It’s not quite ready yet. I have to tweak it.”
Really? You’ve sat on that thing for two years and you still think it needs tweaking? Let’s just get this out there now —There's no such thing as perfection in freelance writing. Click To Tweet
There. I’ve said it. Whenever you’re ready to accept it, you can move on.
Or maybe your excuse is: “This has already been done, and done better.”
Right there is your problem — you think you have nothing valuable to add to the conversation. The idea’s been done? Do me a favor — do a search right now for “books about recovery” and see how many show up.
Wow, that many, huh?
If any of those authors thought like you, there would be one. And there would be exactly that many perspectives. For every idea, there are millions of ways to approach it. So get off your ass and approach it your way.
2. Give it your best “what the hell” moment.
This is my favorite weapon — I go in with the thinking that I’m just experimenting. It can all change, and I don’t have to keep a damn bit of it.
Nine times out of ten, I keep what I’ve done. You will, too.
That’s because you’re not trying to eliminate your fears, but just work around them. For now. By giving yourself permission to just do something, you’re already halfway over that barrier.
3. Lose the same routine.
Look, if you sit down at that computer every day and do exactly what you did yesterday, you’re less likely to insert something new. Today, schedule time (30 minutes or so) just for your stuck project. Open your calendar app, put in the appointment, and jot down two or three things you can work on in that time. Like “do a quick proofread of the document” or “make a list of marketing contacts in X industry.” Then when the time comes, do it.
Tomorrow, do the same thing, scheduling the next thing you think will help you get to the finish line.
4. Chart your course.
Make it a loose outline — bullet points work — on the steps you want to take to get to your goal. Use your scheduling in step 3 for guidance. Remember you can amend as you go — the point isn’t to stick you in a rigid process, but to get you moving.
5. Chart your progress.
You were successful in your first step! Chart it. Create whatever graphic or document you want to give you a visual of how far you’ve come. Celebrate that first step, and every one after. And when you reach your goal, treat yourself. You’ve earned it.
Writers, what project have you been sitting on?
How have you successfully launched your own projects?