I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old. I remember writing my first story at that age, penned with care on ten sheets of tiny notebook paper. I had done creative writing before for school assignments, but this was the first time I had ever written anything for myself. When I was 12, I started the horrid first draft of the novel that I’ve been working on at least once a week for the past year. I’m 24 now, so I suppose you could say that I’m well-invested in this story, you know, having spent half my life toying with the concept and all.
I did a lot of growth as a writer from then until now, generating a style, finding genres that suited me, and sharpening my command of the English language, but there was one thing that that I barely did at all: write. I wrote a page or two of junk every few months, and stared at discouraging blank pages a little more often. I was never going to get anywhere at that pace, I was never going to reap any sort of reward for my work, and I was guaranteed never to get even a whiff of what I could have accomplished. I created maps of new worlds, a new language, and a history of a people who existed only in my mind, but it didn’t matter because I hadn’t told any sort of story.
My writing ability would not have allowed me to produce a novel of even mediocre quality when I first had the idea, but now I have no excuse. I knew it needed to be done, so I made the commitment to write, and with a lot of encouragement from my diligent writing companions whom I met in the pursuit of my dream, I now have something to show for my efforts: a concrete body of good-quality work. I can read through the 40-or-so pages of writing I’ve done over the past year and see that I’m getting somewhere.
If you want to create that piece of art that’s been gnawing at the inside of your head, don’t put it off another day. It’s so easy to get mired in the swamp of creative procrastination (also known as research, creating the background, and someday) that you may miss the perhaps years-long opportunity to start and never even notice. Make like a Nike shoe and just do it.