This is not a 5-step guide that instructs you how to start doing something.
Rather, this is a list of the excuses you’re probably making right now as to why you can’t take that next step and start something great.
You know what I mean… Why you don’t have time. Why you’ll never be good enough. Why you lack the funds. Why you blah blah blah.
Dana and I had to struggle through the simple act of starting for years (and we still fight it). It’s hard when you feel that your food photography sucks, but you want to be a food blogger, right? Or when you want to be a web designer, but all your websites look like they came straight out of 1995. Or you want to be funny and nobody laughs at your jokes (ok, that one might just be me).
But none of that matters, because you can do anything you decide you really want to do. And to help you in that battle, here are a few encouragements to help you fight those evil demons and finally get started.
I’ll get started as soon as I’m inspired.
I only write when I’m inspired, and I make sure I’m inspired every morning at 9 a.m.
– Peter DeVries
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
– Jack London
You have everything you need to be inspired right now. Suggesting that inspiration just happens without work is silly. Sure, you’re first work might be a little rough, but the more you keep at it, the more you’ll start finding yourself “inspired.”
I don’t have enough time.
This is called hustling, son.
Yes you do. Your priorities might be screwed up, but you have time.
Don’t I need to be perfect?
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
Actually, it’s probably great that you aren’t. You can get away with imperfection and still do something amazing.
I’ve probably missed the boat. Somebody is already doing *that thing you love to do*.
You don’t need to go back in time to be awesome; you just have to start right now. Regretting that you didn’t start earlier is a great distraction from moving on your dream today, and the reality is that today is earlier than tomorrow.
― Jon Acuff, Start
Quit comparing what you want to do with somebody who is already doing it. That person should only be evidence that it is in fact possible to do what you’d love to do. Want to be a full-time food blogger? We’re doing it. We aren’t that phenomenal. You’re probably even more amazing. You just have to start.
So, what should I do?
You know, when I was starting out I used to sit down to write (jokes) a couple times a week. And then one day I was watching these construction workers go back to work, watching them trudge down the street, and it was like a revelation to me. I realized, these guys don’t want to go back to work after lunch, but they’re going. Because that’s their job. I think if they can exhibit that level of dedication for that job, I should be able to do the same. Just trudge your ass in.
– Jerry Seinfeld
The first rule of doing work that matters: Go to work on a regular basis.
Make your art your work. Now go to work.
Quit acting like the reason successful people made it is just because they got a lucky break. Most people that are “lucky” get that way because they work really hard.
Ok, how do I get started? There’s simply too much to do.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
– Mark Twain
Break your tasks into small manageable tasks. Then start one.
The key, again, is starting.
Ok, so I need to start. How Do I consistently keep starting?
The biggest reason people fail at creating and sticking to new habits is that they don’t keep doing it.
– Leo Babauta of Zen Habits
You need a starting habit. Figure out how to keep starting. I write down the one task I will start in the morning each night before I go to bed.
I usually don’t answer emails in the morning and try to not check my phone unless necessary (hint: it rarely is).
Start that blog post. Start taking photos. Start designing. Keep starting.
Whatever it is, create a habit of starting.
You want to know the funniest part about all of this? The more I start to just show up and do something, the more stuff that happens. I start to become good at my art. I start to improve my skills. I start creating and quit complaining about all the things in my way.
Find the most simple, fun, or engaging first step of your task. Then do it.
You really can do phenomenal work, but it’s not going to just happen. You have to start today. Right now, in fact. Quit making excuses, start.
More articles you may enjoy:
Want to start a food blog? How to start a food blog in 5 minutes.
How do you find the time to start? Hustle Hustle Hustle.