Sorry; I have no space left for advice. Just do it.
-Donald E. Westlake
I work as a freelance writer and magazine intern, and every time I sit down to write something, I freeze. I’ve been through the scenario a million times, but each time I futz over the assignment as if I’ve never written anything in my life.
For example, my first freelance magazine piece is an interview due on Saturday, and I’m having the hardest time organizing my thoughts. I’m going back and forth over the details, reading articles from past issues and staring out the window every five minutes, hoping a wave of inspiration will wash over me. And nothing happens. Nothing happens until I stop squirming and write.
I think we make things more difficult when we forget our successes, when we forget that we’ve done this very same thing before and have done it well. Sure, I haven’t written this exact piece before, but I have written profiles. I’ve written blog posts, e-commerce copy, and term papers. With every new project, it’s up to me to have confidence in myself that I can finish the job. And the best way to finish a job is to just do it, not to obsess over it.
While it’s not easy, I’m really trying to remind myself of my successes when I feel stuck. Once I finish what feels like a daunting assignment, I realize how silly it was for me to stress over it. So today, remember your successes. Remember that even when something is new and a bit scary, you may already have the tools you need to conquer it. Once you realize you’re already prepared, don’t stress any longer–just do it!