Thursday, September 1, 2011

You can start it today

This is what I need someone to tell me every day.

It's what I will tell myself every day, now.

Whatever it is you want to do, if it's really important to you, give yourself permission to start it today.

Don't listen to the "Yes, but..." monster in your head.

Case in point: I want to write books. I have wanted to write books since I was eight years old. I did journalism because I wanted to tell other people's stories. And I still love that.

But I'm also still want to write my stories. Children's picture books, non-fiction books. And I want to do other things too, like learn to play the piano, take better photographs, and plan some memorable experiences for the kids.

So why aren't I doing these things? I've some had very good excuses hold me back, which seemed like insurmountable obstacles:

1. No time, no energy. Particularly after pregnancies and caring for babies which are very time and energy-consuming. Plus, chronic sleep deprivation has pureed my brain.

2. The need to make money. People pay me to write short articles, and to edit and proofread their writing. No one will pay me for the hours it takes to sit down and do these other things.

3. I don't have the skills or contacts to write the kinds of books I want to write. I need to take that creative writing course/children's picture book writing course/join that writers' society before I do anything else.

4. I'll start tomorrow. I'm too tired today.

5. There's so much else I have to do first. These things are luxuries which can wait.

All of these "Yes, but..." excuses caused me to give up and be resigned to a mediocre life of not even trying do things I really would like to do, for my own sake and for others' too.

They've been sending me to bed each night feeling that I haven't wrung every drop of life out of my days. It's a horrible feeling.

All these excuses boil down to three main obstacles: time, energy and money.

And are they really insurmountable obstacles to doing things, good things, life-giving things, that have attracted me with such persistence over many years?

Do I really lack the time, energy and money to do these things? Let's look at them:

Time I've probably been spending up to two hours a day either aimlessly watching TV or clicking around the internet. I can't say that I have no time. I probably need to improve my childcare arrangements in order to get some focussed blocks of time though.

Energy is harder to find some days, with a baby who doesn't sleep so well. But there is always something I can do, even if it's just a little, like write a good 300 words. And I find that once I get writing, that actually gives me energy, and I can get into a zone and keep going much longer than I intended.

Money shouldn't be a problem in that there are lots of free resources to assist me with writing and photography. I can ask friends for piano lessons too, and they can also help me to find a decent second hand piano. And we can organise cheap holidays and other experiences for the children that don't have to cost lots of money.

I don't need to do everything I want to do all at once, but I do need to start on something today.

In fact, it's exciting that I can start right away.

What about you? What do you need to give yourself permission to do today?

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  1. Great inspiration Marilyn. There is a challenge this month called 30 days hath September by a guy who spent 6months in hospital with TB ...heard it on radio yesterday.
    I love the line I don't need to do it all today. I have all the same excuses too.
    Ps have you seen 101 in 1001 days idea.

  2. Wow - what a great post! I just clicked here from the Flog yo Blog Link-up {first timer *blush*}. I think I have had the exact same dialogue inside my head too! How refreshing to hear that I am not alone!

    Hmm, my morning tea guest hasn't arrived just yet... Mind if I click around your blog a bit?

  3. Trish, both of those look good, I'll have to look them up.

    B, you're welcome! Make sure you sign up as well : )

  4. ha! I wrote almost exactly the same post today. there must be a few of us frustrated writers out there. Well Im crossing my fingers for you xx

  5. It's amazing how similar we are thinking today Eloise! But your post is funny - love that. Real people, real events? I'd like to read it when you finally get it published.

  6. How spooky is that Marilyn. Just before I read your post I was just thinking I really should look up that Open University course again and not waste time. If I put off one of my goals any longer I will get to the end of my life without achieving anything I said I would do. I've always dreamed of being a published author but have I done anything besides write unfinished stories, do the odd creative writing course and talk about being a writer? No! I've finally realised (it's taken 30 years!) that I'm afraid of failure. And now I'm blogging it's the most writing I've done in years because I'm not worried about being perfect. Unfortunately the distraction of reading everyone else's blogs is the procrastination I revel in...

  7. Perfectionism gets in the way of a lot of us I think Becci! Good luck with your writing goals.


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