Does this sound familiar: you start working on a new project and quickly realize it requires much more work, time, and stress than you’d imagined. Author Anne Lamott offers help on “Shitty First Drafts” — terrific writing advice for musicians.
We may be overly optimistic or uninformed at the start of a venture. It’s hard to guesstimate the amount of work needed when we tackle something new. Some of us regularly imagine or fantasize that things will be simpler and easier than they turn out. And entrepreneurs often report they are glad they didn’t know how hard the work would be when they got started. If they’d known they might not have ever started!
Getting started — the hardest part
For author Anne Lamott, the necessary first step is writing that “shitty first draft,” getting those first half-baked and unfocused ideas down on paper. Whether it’s a grant proposal, a novel, or your business plan, starting matters — you can always revise and rewrite. But few people ever write their shitty first draft. And of those who do, many don’t hang in to do the real work (the revising and editing) needed to get the job done.
Once you see that it’s going to demand real work and the possibility of failure, it’s what you decide to do next that’s crucial.
It’s your choice: how to proceed next
You can . . .
1. Give up
2. Lower your expectations, down-size the project, or do a half-assed job
3. Get help from others
4. Re-double your efforts and get the job done
Real learning and growth only comes when we struggle with real challenges.
For this week:
What’s the project you’ve been delaying starting or moving forward on? How might you use Anne Lamott’s writing advice for musicians on “shitty first drafts” to take an important action step this week?
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Dream big, Plan smart, Live well!