The Struggle of Getting Started

My drafts are flooded with blog posts that will probably never be written.

Some of them are only headlines. Others contain a couple of poorly strung together paragraphs and maybe a few photos. There are even several that don’t have any useable components at all; they’re literally just sentences that say things like “write post about ___.”

I keep these posts in my drafts despite the fact that I know I will never write them. I go through phases every now and then when I tell myself I am going to delete them, but I can never bring myself to actually go through with it. That’s right. I am a blog post idea hoarder. Each week, the line of posts never to be finished grows bigger, and I do nothing to stop it.  

You may presume the reason these posts will never see the light of day is because they’re awful or I realized I don’t want them online. This isn’t the case (well, mostly. I will admit there are a few items in there that are just so utterly horrendous that, for the sake of my pride, I can’t bring myself to look at them). The real reason I haven’t worked on these posts is because I don’t know how to begin. Aside from a general idea, these posts have no structure, foundation or backbone. They are like buildings that crumble under the pressure of the wind.

It’s often said that the hardest part of anything is getting started, and I’d have to agree with that statement. You can head into a project feeling inspired and full of momentum, but the instant you get your idea written down, you will inevitably ask yourself: OK, where do I go from here?

It’s a difficult question to answer. More often than not, we end up abandoning our projects because of it, turning to excuses like “I’ll do it later” or “this isn’t the right time” for comfort. But deep down, we know the fundamental reason why we can’t get ahead on things is because we don’t know how to start doing them in the first place. We view projects and ideas as these large, overwhelming, impenetrable chunks and forget that breaking them down and focusing on them in little pieces will make them easier to conquer.

fashion blogger wears white tee, jeans, heels

Is creative embarrassment a thing? I think so. | Three ways to style pumps

fashion blogger wears white tee, jeans

O U T F I T  D E T A I L S:

Top (similar): Everlane* | Jeans (similar): Shein* | Shoes (similar): TJ Maxx*

I think that’s why I have so many unwritten blog posts cluttering up my drafts. Instead of working on one paragraph at a time and seeing how the post plays out, I worry too much about the overall message. Does it sound OK? Am I making myself clear? What’s the flow like? Is it too jagged? These questions, though important to the writing process, can greatly hinder it if thought about prematurely. They cause us to lose sight of the act of writing, becoming so consumed with how the final product turns out that we can’t even bring ourselves to produce it. This means we’re so desperate to make our projects as good as they can possibly be that we can’t actually bring ourselves to work on them, a miserable and relentless cycle.  

So, we have to remember this: You can always write and rewrite. You can always change the format if you decide you don’t like the current one. You can always pick a new central idea. You can always substitute old words with new ones.

However, you can’t do any of that if you don’t get your thoughts written in the first place. Edits can’t be made to work that doesn’t exist. You have to take your ideas and turn them into something tangible, even if you aren’t 100 percent satisfied with how they end up. Moving forward requires you to step outside of your comfort zone and work until you have something to work with. And, most importantly, reaching the result you desire forces you to be OK with the fact that you might not love what you’ve created at the beginning of the process.

Do you struggle with getting started? 

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Hi, I'm Paige and my favorite things are lipstick, books, and coffee.

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