Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

A Great Writer Takes Initiative

Great Writers Initiate BadgeThis is Day 3 in the Great Writers Series.

Yesterday, I challenged you to believe you are a writer — maybe for the first time, maybe for the fiftieth. We all need reminders, regardless of where we are in the journey. I told you there would be a time to act. That time is now.

It’s time to start writing, and I don’t care if you’ve written your whole life. Today is different. It’s time to start again.

I also challenged you to get up two hours earlier than normal and just write. Did you do that? If you did, great. Do it again tomorrow. If not, that’s okay, too. Try again tomorrow.

A brief thought on starting

Every day, you have a decision: to start or stop the things worth doing. To continue building habits that make you more of your truest self, or to break the ones you’ve been doing for awhile.

As it turns out, this is all life is: subtle, gradual habit-forming. Becoming who we are through the things we do (or don’t do).

So start writing. Not just what’s comfortable, but what you were meant to write. Do it today. But before you can do that, you’ll have to do something else.

Choose yourself

Ever since middle school, we’ve been waiting to be picked. Hoping the cool kids would notice us. Or if we were the cool kids, we were hoping we would stay that way.

I don’t care who you are — you’ve got confidence issues. Especially if you’re a writer. There’s something you’re struggling with, some level to which you haven’t attained, some expertise you’ve yet to master. And be honest: you’re a little insecure about it.

Which is totally okay. But we’re not going to stay there. That all ends today. And of course, you’ll have to choose to do the same thing tomorrow.

The challenge

Choose yourself. Stop jumping up and pleading, “Pick me, pick me, pick me!” and look yourself in the mirror and say: “You. I pick you.”

What’s something you’re questioning about yourself? For some, it will be the simple choice to actually call yourself a writer (but I hope we’ve overcome that by now).

For authors, it will be a seemingly more elusive term: “author.” And for others, it may be “novelist” or “best seller” or something else.

Here’s what I want you to do: Write down in some place secret, “I am a ____.” Do it and do it now. We’ll come to it later. For now, pull it out every day and read it. Yes, this is hokey, and yes, I want you to do it, anyway.

Then, I want you to start something you’re scared of. Maybe it’s a book, an article for a magazine, or something else. All I want you to do is begin. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about where to go from here.

Continued practice

For the duration of this series, I want you to practice getting up early every day and writing. Today, we did two hours early. If that felt good, do it again. If you were dragging all day, adjust your schedule appropriately.

What we’re trying to do here is make room for writing. If the phone is ringing off the hook, the kids are asking for breakfast, and your email keeps dinging, that’s not ideal.

Find a time when distractions are minimal, and write. Give yourself grace, but also hold yourself accountable. Remember: Every day is another chance to start again.

Bonus reading: If you need help with the “just write” part, read this: How to Form a Daily Writing Habit

Did you get up early today? How did it go? What did you write? Share in the comments. And be sure to encourage another writer.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.