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Are you a writer?

There are books, blogs, and courses on how to write. Social media accounts are dedicated to encouraging “non-writers” to commit to daily writing practices, and coaches build followings with promises of completed writing projects. And yes, while there is skill behind knowing how to write well (grammar rules, structure, rhythm) what if all this mystery and magic built up around writing is stopping us from writing in the first place?

What if, instead of waiting for inspiration or the perfect moment, you simply began?

Take away lofty goals and quests for eloquence; simply aim to write a line or two of clunky words. Then, type for ten minutes; the day after that commit to writing for fifteen. Next Saturday, you may find yourself writing for one hour. You may have something solid to chip away at and refine one month later.

Sure, set goals that will keep you on track, but don’t let your questions — What should I write about? Where should I write? When should I write? Which writing program should I use? How do I begin? What if it isn’t any good? — get in your way.

There is a writer in you. And there’s a story that no one else can tell in a way that no one else can tell it. Instead of looking outwards, look inwards. That’s where you will find your process.

When you’re not sure how to begin, continue

Beginning anything is heavy. Expectations and pressure can weigh down even the loftiest ideas — to the point those ideas never catch the wind they need to sail.

Before we start, our ideas grow heavy with fear: this might not work, I don’t know how to begin, my plan is not complete, what will they say, it’s not the right time.

Don’t worry about starting; instead, continue.

Take the gold of what is now and keep going. The future is imaginary.

Don’t waste a moment questioning what is next. Continue.

Silence as a medium

Silence can be uncomfortable, and it can be tempting to rush to fill “dead air.” When silence falls upon a meeting or lands abruptly in conversation, it can be unsettling and anxiety-provoking. You may question the efficiency of communication or worry that your message has been misunderstood.

But silence is one of the most powerful communication tools we can use. When harnessed, silence allows room for focus, self-reflection, empathy, and introspection. Sometimes, silence is exactly what is needed for a creative storm to follow.

The next time you find yourself in a silent standoff with a friend or among colleagues… pause. Invite silence into the space and watch what blossoms.

“Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Words come out of the void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.”

Wayne Dyer

Uncertainty as a compass

When facing uncertainty, it’s helpful to revisit what you know is true. These truths can act as your compass, keeping you focused on daily choices as you move in the direction of your goals. Ask yourself:

What do I want?

What feels aligned with who I am?

What are authentic expressions of my being?

What do I know to be true right now?

Which of my relationships feel supportive, nurturing, and life-giving?

Return to your answers when you feel stuck.

Starting matters

Starting matters. There’s no barometer, no baseline, no comparison. It’s 1/1, and the scale is tipped. Without the first, there can never be the ninth.

The effect shrinks when you reach 300. 1/725 hits different.

Remember that when you start: The first matters, but it doesn’t matter “the most.”

Take the pressure off and begin!

P.S. You can now find me on Instagram.

The tribes you build

The life you want to create, the type of person you want to become, the parts of yourself you’re most excited to cultivate will attract people who will help you get there.

Your relationships are catalysts — the foundations you need to squeeze wisdom from experience and failure. Authentic connection is expansive: the right relationship at the right time are wings to freedom.

Even at your very worst, you were someone’s pride and joy. Remember this when you forget the best parts of your being. Because somewhere in that fog of confusion and longing, we can help each other find laughter and gratitude. Your highest highs and lowest lows are different than mine; the value lies in sharing and discovering what these experiences were like for each of us.

Our mutual appreciation for life — the ups and downs, the hard lessons and the easy ones — might not happen at the same time. Your up might be my down; but no matter, when we do find ourselves together, we can share which lessons that made us better.

The point is to build tribes so that we can elevate and push each other to succeed.

When we collaborate, our ideas become richer. Like a prism, the perspectives we uniquely offer brings treasure. It’s our gift — and our duty — to find it.

Modified from What connect us, posted August 2013.