All it takes is one. One minute and then another and then another. All it takes is one minute of writing, of scribbling one word, one sentence in front of the other. Writing stories is hard and writing good ones is even harder, and sometimes as artists that’s all we can see. Not the finish line and sometimes not even the starting line. But we see the hurdles and the trenches and all of those miniature failures that go along with making art. It’s hard to feel motivated when we’re already anticipating that first roadblock but what we don’t realize is that anticipation itself IS the roadblock. The first one because it always comes just before we start. Because we’re thinking about the future instead of living in the moment.

But writing is all about the moment. Yes, we have a vision and maybe even a plan, but the actual construction of a novel doesn’t happen in the anticipation of it. It happens in the physical act of creating, of typing one word at a time. Even if it’s a terrible word or a stupid word or one that totally doesn’t make any sense. Progress is forward and progress is constantly in motion. Like your hands across the keys, like your pen across the blank page. All we have to do to conquer our fears is move. That’s it. No worrying, no sabotaging, no procrastinating. No daydreaming about all of the terrible things that could happen if you get this first word wrong. No giving up.

And most importantly no measuring your success by things that don’t exist or by things that always will. We will always be afraid. We will always fail. But the future is foreign and invisible and right now it does no exist. What does exist is this moment and what you can do in this moment shouldn’t be judged or measured outside of that. So just write. One minute, one moment at a time. That’s how you create. Not all at once but in pieces. Small pieces that can be terrible and weak and scary and amazing and brilliant and bold all at the same time. Because so are we. And being capable of both creating and being such a thing is proof that beginnings are not what we should fear, nor is failure. It’s us. Because we are powerful and we are brave and when we make the choice to be stronger and wiser than our fears, we can do absolutely anything.

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9 thoughts on “Minutes

  1. Loved this post.
    It synchronises perfectly with this saying that came up in my facebook feed today…
    “If you hear a voice within you say that ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

    Minute by minute, letter side by letter, word next to word and we write to silence the doubt and the fear.

    • I love that quote and it just goes to show that even genius can still be crippled by the fear of starting. But I think that the way we mature as artists is by realizing that we have power of these fears and that we can choose not to give in to them.

  2. This was great! I definitely have a problem with thinking about the finished product and how it will received before actually writing. This usually gives me anxiety so I just go on netflix instead of writing 😛 I will definitely start writing in the moment

    • Same here! Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with just the possibility of failure that the only way to “conquer” that fear is to fail on purpose by not writing at all. It’s a strange and vicious cycle but one I’m learning to observe more often rather than participate in.

  3. Julie Israel says:

    Well said. I think that’s the only way I really make any progress– one word, one task at a time. But I realized that’s something I love about writing: it’s one challenge after another. You’re never bored, because you’re always pushing yourself. And eventually you conquer the mountain, and you can look back down on your novel and see all the rugged (and sometimes beautiful) trails you blazed to get there.

    • I think you’re so right about that part of writing not only being the most frightening but the most exhilarating. I think the truth is most of us live for those moment of getting over those hurdles but sometimes that fear gets the best of us and instead of propelling us forward it holds us back. And unfortunately the longer we stay in it, the harder it is to get out of. But it is possible to get out of it. We just have to be brave enough to write something terrible.

  4. I should read this post weekly. Haha Gosh, writing is such am emotional journey. Thanks for putting these thoughts down and sharing them. 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m so glad you found it helpful. This blog has evolved into a place of affirmation for me and I really try to craft each post as a positive reminder for myself when I’m feeling stuck or doubtful or afraid. I’m glad you connected with it!

  5. Reblogged this on laekanzeakemp and commented:

    *To celebrate my two-year blogging anniversary, I’ll be re-blogging some of my favorite posts from 2014 throughout the month of December*

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