On Actually Doing
By Darcy Lindbergh
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” - Earl Nightingale
I’ve probably read hundreds of articles about writing right now, about putting aside the fears and excuses and putting words on the page, and agreed wholeheartedly with them. And I’ve always considered myself a writer anyway; I’ve always had stories to tell and I’ve always tried to tell them.
So I was completely blindsided to realize that my own fears and excuses were stopping me from writing something bigger.
I had always thought: once I finish this project, and after this event, and once I get more organized, I’ll write. When I have time to devote to the research, I’ll write. I just need to understand more about the process, and then I’ll be able to write! I just want to do it properly!
Here’s the thing. There’s never going to be a perfect time to dedicate myself to writing. I’m never going to be entirely organized, and I’m never going to have as much time as I want to devote to research. And if I think that I can ever fully understand the process before I even begin, I’m going to be sorely disappointed.
So I had to ask myself: if it’s never going to be perfect, do I do it at all?
The answer, if not exactly easy, was obvious: if circumstances were never going to be perfect, I have to stop holding myself to the standard of the perfect circumstances.
I decided to write, and to do it right now, and to not be afraid of not doing it right, because the alternative was to keep hanging on to my fears and excuses. If I have to write in five minute breaks here and there, that’s five minutes of work down I didn’t have before. If it takes me two weeks to do the research to find an answer instead of one, at least I’d have an answer two weeks later, instead of nothing at all. And if I have to feel out the process one blind step at a time, then at least I’m moving forward.
Writing is hard, and confusing, and a bit terrifying, but the time will pass anyway. Pass it in pursuit.
Darcy Lindbergh publishes on AO3, writes as Watsonshoneybee on Tumblr, and has a beautiful story in Improbable Press' A Murmuring of Bees. This essay originally appeared in IP's 16 August 2017 writing newsletter Spark.