Whether you’re starting on your NaNoWriMo novel or you’re beginning another big project, you may be feeling like you’re not yet prepared to start.
Before embarking on a big journey, like writing a book, a lot of us want to know exactly where the path is going and what will be required of us along the way. Am I capable? Am I ready? Am I good enough?
But how can we ever be prepared for a journey we’ve never been on before?
I had no idea how to write a book before I began. The process revealed itself to me along the way. Through trial and error, I learned how to distill a story, how to write dialogue, how to time chapter breaks, and how to create a narrative arc. Then I learned how to build a blog audience, how to self-publish, how to promote through social media, how to get an agent, and (finally!) how sell to publishers.
I learned this only by beginning.
So, after having achieved that, I must feel 100% ready to write another book, right? No. Because I’ve never been on the journey of a second book before. I haven’t explored the intricacies of the story I have yet to write. I’m standing before just as much uncertainty as I was the first time around.
‘Feeling ready’ is a fantasy. The process will always be confusing and uncertain. It’s normal and unavoidable.
Don’t put off beginning something because you’re hoping that one day you’ll ‘feel ready.’ That day will never come. And even if it does, that confidence will leave you for long stretches of time throughout the process. Self-doubt is a constant friend to the creative soul.
Storytelling is intuitive. It comes from within us. Everything you need to learn will come from the voice within. Listen to it. Allow it to guide you. Begin.
“we all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking.” ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.