Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. --St. Francis of Assisi
Tonight I'm home on one of my writing evenings: I come home from my day job, I make a quick dinner and I spend the entire evening until midnight writing, researching, and reading. I try to have a few of these nights a week. It helps me stay sane and makes me feel like I'm moving forward.
I usually have my TV on while I'm writing for a few reasons - one, it occasionally provides me with some materials and two, it keeps me company in my thoughts. I've noticed over the years that my writer's block begins when I experience complete silence. The TV fills the void while also giving me complete control over the noise level.
I didn't think I'd ever mention the TV show How I Met Your Mother and St. Francis of Assisi in the same blog post but here we are. I was just watching the show and one of the characters has decided to start his own architecture firm. Like many people who start a project that they are worried is more than they can handle, the character is staring at his phone, unable to pick it up and make calls to potential clients. He's all he's got in his own business. He is paralyzed by the fear we all know too well - the fear of failure.
He goes on to tell his friend a story about an architect who build an incredible library. The only problem is that he forgot to account for the weight of the books, and that extra weight caused the library to sink. "What if I forget to account for the weight of the books?" he asks his friend.
I did a little on-line research about this subject and it turns out that there is no truth to this beloved rumor of a library sinking because of the weight of the books it holds. The character was telling this story to himself as a way of stalling, of keeping a dream just a dream, perfect and untouched by someone's ambition. We'll tell ourselves anything if it helps curb our fear and anxiety. We're so in love with the potential of our dreams that we some times have a tough time getting started.
So here are a few ways to help get us going:
1.) I like lists. They can be tools of procrastination so you need to be careful of them. However, if I can break tasks down into smaller tasks and then do one small piece at a time, they seem less daunting.
2.) Reading for inspiration helps me, too. I try to find people who I model my career after and read about how their success unfolded. Usually they made a lot of mistakes and wrong turns on their journey and that helps assuage some of my fears.
3.) And I follow the advice of St. Francis. I have big dreams and big ideas. And sometimes they are too big for me to bear myself. So rather than starting with the seemingly impossible, I just do what I need to do. Then I do what's possible. And all of a sudden I realize that my big dreams can be accomplished with my big efforts. And before you know it, I'm humming along just fine.
This confirms my desire to believe that the impossible is nothing more than the possible that we just never thought of before.