This IS the Perfect Time

Ali Hale, over at Daily Writing Tips, on finding the perfect time to write:

Trust me, I know how you feel. For years, I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t actually write. I had lots of ideas and dreams, but they never made it out of my head and onto the page.

Why? Because I was waiting for the perfect time.

The perfect time rarely comes, if ever.

As I’m typing this right now, only a handful of people are aware that I have a website where I write about things. I haven’t made any efforts to publicize the site. No tweeting about new posts. No emails saying, “Hey, check out this thing I made.” No links in my various online profiles.

I’m doing this because I made a commitment to myself to write consistently for 30 days before I made any attempt to make the site public. There are a couple benefits to this strategy.

  1. It removed an enormous amount of pressure. I didn’t start writing and expose myself to the scrutinizing eyes of the internet the very same day. Like Hale says in her article, writing is a high-resistance activity. It’s hard work, especially if you aren’t used to it or feel self-conscious about your writing. Since no one was going to see what I wrote, even after pressing “Publish”, I was free to be myself and not worry about other people’s reactions. I had unlimited privacy.
  2. It gave me time to build up a solid foundation of posts. Anyone can create an account, write about their awesome workout, post it, and then tell everyone to check out their new blog. Having a respectable number of articles posted beforehand both legitimizes the site in the readers’ eyes and makes me feel confident that I can actually do this.
  3. It forced me to stop waiting for the perfect time to write. I have to make words appear every single day, whether I’m feeling it or not. Before I made the commitment to 30 days of writing, I never wrote. Ever. Even when I was feeling particularly inspired about something, I would think, “Ah, that’s going to make a great post someday!” Daydreaming is nice, but you’ll never have anything to show for it until you start making those dreams reality. Cliché, but true.

Waiting for the perfect time is a barrier for any project, writing or otherwise. There will never be a truly perfect time to start a new health regimen, build a website, or ask somebody out. The only way to break through that barrier is to jump in with both feet and just start… then the hard part’s over.