Every single day I sit down to write. And every single day I tell myself I am writing. The truth is, I rarely write. I write notes. I write ideas. But I don’t write full sentences, paragraphs, chapters, stories. Every day I study. I watch videos. I read blogs. I research plotting charts and how to develop characters. I learn.
I am a student of writing and therefore I write notes.
And every day I ask myself: When will I be ready?
When will I feel secure enough in my craft to begin writing a novel? When will I know enough to move forward with my art?
You have asked yourself that same question. I know it to be true because we care about our art.
We care so much that we study and learn and absorb any information that will let us be better at what we love. But to what end? To be the best? To create a masterpiece?
I know, rationally, that if we are curious souls our best art is yet to come. I know that we learn by doing.
So, how do I know? How do I know when I’m ready?
There is no way to know.
And in not knowing, we have two choices. We can delay action indefinitely, which is too likely to mean forever, or we can dive in and make bad art.
That is, until we make good art. We try and fail until suddenly we don’t fail. But that success does come with a price, and the price is failure.
Logically, we know this.
But internally, emotionally, it is so hard to accept.
I spend my time and energy every day learning how to write. This has been beyond belief – total immersion student.
At some point, though, knowing that there is more to learn, knowing that we don’t know everything – we surrender.
We surrender to being less than we know we could be, because our ability to raise the bar is unparalleled and we may never meet that kind of perfection.
But we can begin anyway.
To stop striving for perfection, to stop worrying about not knowing everything.
To simply create. And create again. And again. Again, again, again.
Until our work teaches us instead of web pages and workshops. Until our work tells us where to go instead of educators and mentors. Until our work stands concrete and resilient instead of suffering darkness in our imaginations, never freed.
Because at the heart of everything we dream, there must be action. Without it, there is nothing.