Getting Started

Sometimes, getting started can be the most difficult part of the journey.

We come up with all sorts of reasons and excuses for not getting stuck in. Out of nowhere, a whole host of other things seem to require our attention, whether that be cleaning the house or watching cat videos on Youtube! But if we don’t take that first step into the unknown, then we would never get anything done!

Many of us turn to procrastination when we are afraid to proceed, but you must cast aside your fear and believe in yourself! If you do not have the discipline to face your tasks head-on, then it will take much longer for them to get done, or perhaps they might not get done at all. But once you get into the right frame of mind and start believing in yourself, you stand a better chance of achieving your goals!

Usually, I find that once I delve into a task, it’s never as daunting as I originally thought. For some reason, the human mind puts up barriers and makes something look much scarier than it actually is. But you’ve got to change your attitude towards these sorts of challenges and put aside your fear. Do not be afraid of failing and do not be afraid of something not being good enough… do something because it is what you love doing!

Getting started can be the most difficult step because you are committing to the road ahead. Indeed, commitment can be scary, but no journey can begin without that first step! And once you find your footing, you should be able to gather momentum and enjoy your journey. When you’re passionate about every step that you take, travelling towards your destination is much more enjoyable.

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Writing vs Life

When you’re writing, life inevitably gets in the way.

There’s all kinds of distractions that keep you away from the keyboard/notepad. Sometimes this may be procrastination (like surfing the internet) or obligation (like going to work). Regardless of what distracts you from your writing, you’ve got to strike some sort of balance… find time to write!

But often it is hard, with those all-important things that you have to take care of! For a start, you have bodily functions to acknowledge, like eating, drinking and *ahem* going to the toilet, which can be very distracting if you have rooted yourself to a writing spot. On the other hand, as I have found when I am often “in the zone”, your bodily functions can mysteriously subside… they seem to understand your plight and leave you be! Also, there’s sleep.. sleep will always defeat you in the end, no matter how good your plotline is!

Beyond your bodily functions is other necessary chores and rituals of life, such as shopping, cleaning up, showering, going to work. All of them take time out of the day. All of them detract from writing.

And then there are the voluntary things that chisel away at your time. For most people these days, that is probably the internet. People use the internet for all different reasons, whether that be for watching funny videos of cats, social networking or.. *ahem ahem* sordid matters. As Anonymous said, “Being a good writer is 3% talent and 97% not being distracted by the internet”, which I totally agree with! It’s so hard to stop yourself browsing Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and all the rest of them; often you find yourself browsing without realising you’re doing it, much in the same way that a person can passively watch television.

Speaking about television, that iconic little distraction box that has pervaded modern life for over six decades… I don’t have one. That might seem strange to some people, but I just catch up with my favourite shows online. It is much better to be an active viewer and choose to watch select things, rather than channel-flick for the sake of it!

There’s people too. Those billions of people that we share the planet with! Usually, some of those little blighters feature in your life, don’t they? Whether it be a partner, family, friends, associates or work colleagues, people take up your time. However, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is important to interact with this world. The vast majority of stories feature people, thus you have to observe and experience life in order to accurately write about it. Also, it’s good to be sociable; nobody should be alone!

Somebody on Twitter called Ksenia Anske (‏@kseniaanske) said that “To be able to write a novel you have to be willing to fall out of life for 1 year and not let anyone sway you.” I agree with this to an extent, because you must be willing to devote your time to writing and have the determination to work it into your life’s routine. Nevertheless, I think that life’s distractions help to equip you with depicting real life in your work; even if your book is a fantasy or science fiction, it will still feature influences and concepts that you have learned from Planet Earth.

So writing vs life. I suppose it is a symbiotic relationship: life influences your writing, and writing can enrich your life. The two must somehow coexist, which requires stringent time management! If you want to write, in spite of life’s distractions, then I wish you the best of luck!