A few years ago, my parents gave me a beautiful notebook for Christmas: a special edition hardcover Hobbit Moleskine. Cream-colored pages wrapped in burgundy leather with Smaug and the map of the Misty Mountains embossed on the front cover. At first, I was hesitant to use it. I didn’t want to sully the pages with my meager writing attempts or a quick sketch. This book was made to contain art. I still own it today. After multiple moves across multiple cities, this notebook was kept on my bookshelf for me to admire, hoping I would write something worthwhile in its pages.
I had the same fear while trying to write this first post. I made the website, got the layout just right, picked a palette I enjoyed and then…. I had to write. Writing was always the goal obviously, but actually doing it? I was struck with the fear of defining this blog with a poorly thought out first post. I knew going in that I would make spelling and grammar mistakes, those I could live with; but content is everything. I bummed around the house for a day thinking of content and possible titles for a post I had yet to write. Until I realized that I couldn’t be alone in this feeling.
The fear of starting something new, to forever be judged on your first attempt, is a common one. Even though we all have been told, “failure is how you learn,” “No one gets it right on the first try,” “Third time’s the charm.” Why don’t we take those sayings seriously? I know plenty of people who produce amazing work in a wide variety of mediums that all started by making mistakes. Just like the rest of us.
Those first steps into anything new define everything and nothing at the same time. For the time being, this post will be the only one on my blog–front and center is my first try. But it will also be the first thing forgotten, lost in the posts to come, buried beneath my new and improved work (hopefully). The first failures being buried are the foundation of your experience in whatever new thing you take on. They become the work you can look back on and say, “Look how far I have come.” To which people will say, “Wow, you’ve worked really hard at this. Good job.” We’ve all had this conversation at least once in our life, even if it was with ourselves.
So now what? The fear is still there. I may have acknowledged it, but facts don’t always change feelings. What now? Well, for me I write, not only this post but more to come. Learning and letting my first few steps be stumbles as I try out this path. I choose to immortalize this fear of starting something new and use it to help people around me, supporting them as best I can with encouragement to get past their own fear. The best thing we all can do is acknowledge that we have all felt this and can help others overcome it, simply by giving the one thing we all wanted: a little support.
As I sit here in the morning with my laptop and a freshly poured cup of black coffee, I realize I can’t fail at this. I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do. So what’s holding you back? You know you can do it, or you wouldn’t even think about the attempt. You have at least one person rooting for you, even if it’s the strange guy on the other end of this blog.
So go out and do the thing. Make the mistake knowing that this may be your first attempt, but it won’t be your last. I want to hear all about it!