Let’s Get the Beginning Out of the Way

Beginnings are hard. You have a blank sheet of paper. An empty canvas. You have nothing.

While most people are nervous at the notion of having nothing, I think nothing is great. If I start with nothing, I have nothing to lose! Nothing to stop me!

You can’t divide by zero, and by that standard, no one can take nothing away from you.

Except, there is one small, very big problem: Most of us don’t actually start with nothing.

Most of us have all sorts of invisible things lurking around. Scary invisible things like feelings. We aren’t even aware they exist. They stay in the shadows ready to attack us the moment we aren’t looking.

We may not be aware of out feelings all the time, but when you’re faced with a blank page and you want to write something, these feelings stand in the way of you being able to write.

They’ve created an invisible security fence between you and the paper.

This is probably one of the biggest barriers between people writing, because you have to leave the safety zone in order to write anything.

If you go to actually write something meaningful to your own selfish needs, you are going to start feeling feelings. And we don’t want that! It’s scary! It’s uncomfortable! It could be painful!

And this is 100% a totally normal response. There is nothing wrong with you.

We as humans like feeling secure. We hate the idea of doing something that jeopardizes our sense of security. It is literally a survival instinct we are all born with.

Staring and confronting feelings straight in the face puts us in an awkward position where we are no longer comfortable.

When you first begin, you don’t really start with nothing. That would be too easy. Instead, you have all these silly feelings standing in the way between you and your horrible poem about to be written.

Most likely, the poem is sitting there, already in your head, jumping for that moment to come to life on paper, and you aren’t even aware that poem exists. That poem awaits in the shadows and is screaming like a trapped inner child that it wants to be written.

We go to write something, and we might even think we know what we will try to say. We start writing a couple of words, maybe even a couple of lines. If you’re working on an essay, article or novel, you might even get in a few pages deep.

Some of us experience it sooner than later, but it’s inevitable it’s going to happen to you at some point no matter what you are trying to write.

These feelings are going to become an obstacle and our brain will naturally start to try and make the feelings go away.

It will start bringing in all these unrelated and maybe even dumb thoughts to distract you, making it impossible to write what we really want to write.

In every effort to keep you from feeling things that might hurt, our brains become a cluttered and unorganized mess of chaos in no time.

It’s kind of like all of those old moving boxes from three years ago still sitting in your garage. You also have no clue where to find anything useful. You also have all these things you really don’t need, but can’t bear the emotional labor necessary to get rid of either.

Worse, all of those dumb thoughts start multiplying. Next thing you know, we start tripping over them.

Before we know it, we have stirred the great pot of “things I’d rather not talk about” and emotions start flowing in.

We can’t have that when we first begin!

If we are not careful and try to stick to this task of writing something terrible, we may accidentally write something good. That is not what we want to do!

Our entire goal is to write bad poetry.

If we wrote something good, we might be doomed for later disappointment when we learn there is no such thing as a good poem.

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