You already know what it is. It’s the first thing that came to mind when you read the title of this post. It’s the one thing – the most intriguing thing – you want to do, but that you’ve been putting off. Why have you been putting it off? You probably already know the answer to that, too.
The most common underlying reason for writers never writing what they want to write is doubt. It’s not about money or time or exhaustion – not really. If doubt wasn’t there lurking in the background, you’d take the financial risk, the time, give up that extra hour of sleep or that Netflix binge. If you think you cannot do it, chances are, you won’t. It’s sad, it sounds mean, but it’s nothing more than honest. You want to do something, but you haven’t yet. If you truly believed you could, you already would have.
That doesn’t mean it’s too late. Doubt is only a symptom of a much bigger psychological challenge. “Now” is an excellent treatment to ease the pain, numbness, anxiety – whatever it is you feel when you wonder why you still haven’t done it yet. Whatever ‘it’ is for you.
Doubt is such a powerful force that it can stop you from succeeding before you even try. Without anyone ever actually saying to you, or implying that you cannot do something, doubt can convince you it’s impossible. That’s your fault, but it doesn’t make you a bad person or an epic failure. It makes you human. Imposter syndrome is not rare. Its symptoms can be treated. Whether or not it can ever be fully cured has yet to be determined. The symptoms are what stops you on the road toward the finish line.
And the best treatment option available to you is to sit down, take a deep breath and write. Write neither the easy thing nor the fun thing – write the thing that scares you, that makes you doubt yourself. The thing you’ve been avoiding is the thing you’re supposed to do. So do it. Start it. Continue it. Finish it.
There are a million reasons to never start, to stop, to never finish. Doubt, fear, past experiences, finances, time, energy, motivation. These are called excuses. We all have them, and very few of us dare to step past them and keep moving forward. But you can. It’s all about doing. Not dreaming, not hoping, not planning – doing. Dreaming and hoping and planning are easy. Doing is a struggle. But you can do. You don’t think you can, but you can.
Doing, now, is the only thing that matters. Worrying about the final product, about distribution, about whether or not people are going to like it – that all comes later. If you get that far. Because if you never ‘do,’ there won’t be a ‘later.’ There will be a ‘never,’ and no one likes that word.
Do it. You already know what ‘it’ is. Outline it, research it, write it, edit it, rewrite it, any of it, all of it. Now. The only thing you should ever avoid in creating something out of nothing is the concept of never. Now, not never. Now. Today. Go. Don’t wait. Don’t look back. Always forward.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.