Most people find getting started, that first step, as the hardest part. It’s scary. You’re putting yourself and your ideas “out there” for review and potential ridicule. Although the same principle applies to any creative endeavor, it seems most difficult when considered in the context of writing
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Zao Tzu
You are going nowhere until you start moving. Of course, the journey will take unexpected detours and side-trips before it’s done. That doesn’t matter. It’s not even a journey until you start. So, put something on the page. Let’s see where it takes us.
In fact, get a reputation for being the person who takes the hard first step and offers a starting point. Don’t just wave your arms; speak in platitudes and wait for others to get started. Leaders appreciate people who bring a good start on a piece of writing. Truth be known, they suffer with a fear of starting just like anybody else.
Few of us like to write but everybody’s a critic. Everybody’s got a red pen and think they know how to use it. That’s OK. Set aside your “pride in authorship” and let your leader get the credit. Trust me, it will eventually come out who the writer is. Let others contribute based on your creative start.
Even when writing as the sole author, start by jotting down ideas. Outline, if it helps. Do something to get your thoughts flowing. Set it all aside for a while and then edit it. Do that a few times during the process.
Marty Sklar, vice chairman of the Walt Disney Company, said that:
“There are two ways to look at a blank sheet of paper. It can be the most frightening thing in the world, because you have to make the first mark on it. Or it can be the greatest opportunity in the world, because you get to make the first mark — you can let your imagination fly in any direction, and create whole new worlds!” (REF)
By the way, it really doesn’t matter which tools you use. Pencil and paper or computer-based, the same principles apply.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mr. Czerniak retired after a successful career that culminated in fifteen years of experience as an internal consultant and “change agent.” He is currently an Expert-in-Residence at the Macomb-Oakland University Incubator and a volunteer with other clients.