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The First Step is Always the Hardest

My musings on starting a journey.

As you might of read in one of my recent posts I have some 2018 resolutions related to both fitness and writing. I like to think of resolutions as promises to myself. To live better, to be healthier, to take steps towards dreams. Well, it’s the beginning of 2018 and time to start making good on those promises to myself.

Getting in the fitness groove

One of my 2018 goals is to incorporate more fitness into my weekly schedule. I want to run or ride my bike at least three times per week (although on a 38C day, I feel like if I make it out to run in the heat three times a week, it’ll be a miracle!).

The thing is that I know running is really good for me. It’s one of those exercises that pushes me aerobically and physically. I feel much better after it. Once I’m in the groove, it’s easier to keep going. It’s also a good time to be alone with my thoughts and I often get great story ideas when I’m running.

I know all of these things.

The other thing is that I have a love/ hate relationship with running. On one hand, it is all of those things that I just listed. On the other hand, it’s so hard. Yes, once I’ve regained a level of fitness, I can get into the groove and keep going. But I’m not in that place right now. At the moment, every step is a slog and the first is the hardest.

Every part of myself is looking for excuses not to go for a run. It’s too hot (well, today it really is). It’s too wet. It’s too early. It’s too late. It’s too cold. My clothes are dirty. I’m tired. Etc, etc, etc. I can come up with plenty of excuses, as well as promise myself that I’ll go later, that I’ll go tomorrow. That tomorrow will be better.

I know that if I don’t go out first thing, I’ll put it off all day, then I won’t go at all. And I’ll be annoyed at myself.

I know this. Still, the mental battle continues. I suppose if it was easy to keep promises to yourself, new years resolutions wouldn’t be a thing.

Getting into the Writing Groove

One of the other promises to myself is to start drafting the third and final book in the Airwoman series. It is a daunting book to write–I want to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion, as well as surprising readers, as well as keeping the promises that I’ve made to the readers in the first two books of the series, Airwoman and Spirit Woman. I certainly don’t want to disappoint my readers who have enjoyed the series so far.

So while it seems as though it should be easier to write a novel the third time around, I’m pushing up against the same old fears. I’ve planned the story, then planned some more, then I’ve tweaked the plan, let it rest and tweaked it some more. In between editing Spirit Woman, organising the cover, the blurb, the launch, promotions and marketing, I’ve been thinking about the rest of the story.

I’ve realised that the point of fiddling with my website update and organising my scrivener document and writing blog posts (yes, like this one…!) has gone from being useful tasks to tick off my list, to a source of procrastination to avoid keeping my promise to myself. Procrastination with a capital ‘P’.

The first words of the first draft are the hardest too. I get that anxious feeling a the beginning of a first draft. Even with a story plan, the details of the story feel vague in my mind. Sure, I don’t know every detail of the story yet, even with a story plan. That’s not really the problem though, because half of the fun of the first draft is diving into these details. I know the anxiousness is because the words are not yet on paper. It’s easier to see the big picture you can see it there in black and white. It’s because the words might not be good (they won’t, never in a first draft). It’s because I fear I’ll disappoint my readers. It’s the fear that I can’t do it again, that my previous stories were some sort of fluke and I won’t be able to find that magic again.

I know this is normal. I know this happens every time. I know that one I start, the words will start to come. I know this. Still, the mental battle continues!

Yet, the other night, I opened my laptop and started to type the start of the story. And guess what, I really enjoyed it! It was fun to get back in the space of a first draft again (rather than the proofreading stage, which is not nearly as creative).

So, this is the beginning and I’m keen to keep going. Pity I can’t say the same about the running!

What promises have you made to yourself this year? Have you taken your first step? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about it! 

*Photo by Zoltan Tasi from Unsplash.com

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