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

Good luck!


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23 Response Comments

  • Meg | One Love Meg  November 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I might try this. My partner is…. and I currently in India soaking in the yoga and meditation and finding it’s not what I expected to be. I’ve been journaling. Maybe that can be my start.

  • Carmel  November 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    One reason I started writing my blog was actually not about wanting a blog or following, and not even about cooking, but because I had to write a lot for work and didn’t want it to feel so forced. So, I started writing every weekday morning in a journal and writing my blog. I still just do it for myself. It’s a good way to practice and I find that the stories flow a little bit easier when I’m ready to write more seriously. Not always, but my intuition for when I’m forcing it is stronger and I’m getting ever-so-slightly more patient with the process. I still can’t imagine writing a novel, though!

  • Nantz  November 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Embarking on a book-writing adventure sounds very much like the one we’ve just begun: launching a new business and website! So many of the same doubts and fears, but in the end, ya just gotta jump in and start swimming to find that the water is a lot less intimidating than imagined. Best of luck with your NEXT book—your talent and ability will carry you through no doubt!

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures  November 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    What an inspiring message! I really needed to hear this, because I keep putting of “beginning” for no good reason.

  • Sarah Somewhere  November 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Torre, you are such an inspiration. I’ve followed your journey for a while, since you were in the process of writing your book, and you have come so far and achieved so much by simply beginning (though you are also an insanely talented writer). Thank you for demystifying it for people like me, who always thought someone had to give me permission to begin. Respect sista! Can’t wait for the re-release!

  • Pernilla  November 1, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Another inspiring post, and you’re totally right, the time will never be right, sometimes you just have to go for it!

  • Vihaan  November 2, 2012 at 4:22 am

    This is a perfect article I wanted to read today; ! Inspiring.!

  • Denise  November 2, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I didn’t feel ready to start writing my novel until my 27th birthday…just because before that i felt like I only had anecdotes but no flesh. I spent years just waiting for the story to mature in my head…and now I am finally writing because it feels like yes, I have the story.

  • Gennifer  November 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Yes yes yes! Exactly!

  • Ashley of Ashley Abroad  November 3, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Thank you for this post, Torre. Writing a book is something I would love to do someday but until then I’ll be blogging – which I’ve learned is an AMAZING way to improve your writing. Practice makes perfect, right?

  • Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home  November 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    One inspirational quote that came to my head while reading your post was: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
    So true, don’t you think?

  • Allegra  November 11, 2012 at 4:01 am

    I’ve only recently discovered your site, but I love even just the little bit I’ve been able to read through so far. I think this post is such a wonderful reminder that sometimes we simply must leap before that net will appear, right? It can be said for writing a book, planning a trip, a big life change… Wise Words.

  • Kim  November 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Beautiful, Torre. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Rease  November 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks for the tips, Torre! I have wanted to write a book about my 2 years abroad for awhile. I did write an outline, which I felt was a pretty big step in itself. I feel like I should just treat each chapter like a long blog post and see where I go from there.

  • Colleen  November 16, 2012 at 5:10 am

    Thanks for posting this. I really needed to read it just at this moment 🙂

  • Tee  November 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you for this post. I’m a writer/editor by profession and I’ve always wanted to write a book, but always lacked confidence, never known when or how to start, and have been waiting for that grand idea. I realise now I have the tools, but it’s never going to be the right time and I’m never going to have it all figured out before I start – I just need to start.
    Love your blog and can’t wait to read the book.

  • Ayngelina  November 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    People often ask about when I left everything to travel, if I was unsure or afraid. I can say up until I walked through the metal detector at the airport I was completely frightened and then somehow it washed all away and I knew I was doing the right thing.

    Unfortunately that lasted about an hour and I have spent the rest of the last 3 years with occassional doubts about wtf I am doing but I now know that’s just a part of life.

  • Ev  January 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I stumble on your blog and………. I love it! Your humor, the way you describe. Keep it up! 🙂

  • Erin  February 18, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Thank you for those encouraging words and congratulations on your beautiful book! I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • Tracey  March 10, 2013 at 12:05 am

    I felt instantly better after reading this post! Thank you. Self doubt is a killer and I have been struggling with a bunch of it lately. So simple, stop waiting to be ready and just begin. You are an inspiration and proof that anything is possible if you just take that first step.

  • Lori Robinson  July 15, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    I have heard these words before or something like them – just do it, you don’t know the way but get on the path anyway – in regards to writing my book. My author friends tell me it’s true. So, I have to trust you and them and just keep going. Thanks for the kick in the butt. I need to quit blogging so much because it is keeping me from my true love, my book.
    Lori from AfricaInside.

  • debbie spencer  November 28, 2015 at 4:49 am

    this i think will be very helpful..


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