I find that beginnings are always hard. Be it a first day of school, a first day at a new job, or starting a new project, there’s always this sense of anxiety. What if you can’t cut it? What if you fail? What if you get fired? What if you never finish? It can be overwhelming.
Yes, starting is always the toughest part, but once you get past that, you usually find that things flow. Several days in, you’ll find yourself wondering what you were ever so anxious about in the first place. Throughout my life, I’ve had many beginnings. The most anxious have probably been when I started driving, when I started college, my first date, and when I started working. (I’m lucky that marriage came relatively easy to me.) These universal firsts that everyone goes through eventually became the norm. I got used to driving, dating, college, and working. I could say that to an extent, I succeeded in those aspects. When it came to my own personal projects however, that was another matter entirely.
Ever since I was seven years old, I attempted to complete various different projects. I worked on my own comic books, video games, and animated shorts. While on the comic side, I finished several issues a year up until I turned thirteen or so (and proceeded to use the school’s copier to make copies, staple them, and sell them for 25 cents apiece), beyond that most of my projects ended in failure. None of the video games I attempted to make were ever completed. And during high school and college I attempted to make about six animated shorts, but only finished two of them. I worked on a (now defunct) webcomic for a few years, but never actually finished the last issue, leaving the story unresolved. I still have the last few pages, most of which are inked, sitting in a folder on my shelf. I keep telling myself I’ll finish it eventually, but I suspect I’m lying to myself. I’m not as proud of the story as I was when sixteen-year-old-me wrote it, or even when nineteen-year-old-me penciled and inked it. And so it will likely stay on my shelf, collecting dust, and perhaps I’ll show it to my children someday and lament of what might have been.
But failures are no reason to stop trying new projects. My problem, I realized, was that I tried making things that simply took too long to make, and it eventually burned me out. The only two animated shorts I ever finished were only around six minutes each and took me that many months, while I threw in the towel during the sixth month of production of my most ambitious twenty-two minute animated short after having a paltry thirty seconds (I had animated a single scene no less than 3 times from scratch, hoping to get it just right). So it made sense to me that my next project would have to me something that I would be able to finish in six months or less. Unfortunately, due to increased responsibilities and decreased time (the wife, school, work, etc.), I don’t have the same opportunities I had to create. That’s when I realized that there was something I could still do, so long as I had a laptop: Write a book.
I had several ideas for books, but I thought it’d be best to hit the ground running. So I dug out an old outline I had written some six years ago and began working on it from there. My only time to write was on the subway to and from work or school, assuming I was lucky enough to get a seat, but hey, people have done more with worse. Starting was certainly the most difficult part. The blank page staring back at you, begging to be filled, but you are unsure of just what to fill it with. Once I started, however, the rest of it (for the most part) flowed. I guess what could be taken from this is that you should just start. Stop putting off whatever it is you want to do. Just make sure you pick realistic goals for yourself first. Nearly four months later, I finished my first draft. There’s still much work to be done, but the end is actually in sight. I’m excited that soon I’ll be able to finally put another tally in the ‘completed’ column, and even more so, I’m excited to share it with all of you.
That brings us to this blog. Starting this wasn’t easy either. For weeks, I dragged my legs. But here it is, the first post. Will this blog catch on? Will anyone read it? Will I be able to stick with it, or will I give up six months later? I guess we’ll find out together.