Commitment and Starting

I spend a fair amount of time thinking up ideas. I have a hope and a goal to develop a kind of muse business, one that I can set up and let run, that will contribute to my family’s financial security. I want to explore new topics with postgraduate researchers, and to do what I already do with them better. And, as you can tell from this blog and my books, I want to write more books for postgraduate researchers (and possibly for other audiences too).

A big problem, one that I’ve carried over from my PhD days, is procrastination – well, not exactly. It’s a bit of procrastination, a bit of Imposter Syndrome, a bit of “what-if-this-doesn’t-work-out?” I worry. The key of it all is thinking: “What if this idea is not right?”

This is a perennial problem for me, but something that has helped a lot recently has been re-reading Poke The Box by Seth Godin, which I mentioned in a recent post. Previously, I would build up an idea, then stop, stop short of going through with it. What if it wasn’t right? I’ve had an idea for a new book – actually, for a series of books – and I thought that it was good. Great actually, if it’s OK for someone to say that about their own ideas!

And yet… What if it wasn’t right?

Poke The Box really helped, because for every doubt, every criticism that I came up with, I found an answer.

  • What if some people don’t like it? I don’t have to write things that everyone likes.
  • What if it doesn’t sell? I’ll write something else, and maybe that will.
  • What if I don’t finish it on time? I’ll finish it late, but it will get finished.

And so on. But still… I didn’t start. And then I realised that I just needed a little push, a little something to help me follow through on the idea. As with my previous books I decided that I wanted to write it directly using Pressbooks – and so I realised that if I committed, if I paid for the formatting for ebooks then I would be far more likely to follow through. A small step, but the first step is what one needs sometimes!

Perhaps, if boiled down simply, a re-formulation to the question “what do you need to start?” could be “what do you need to be committed?”

Thanks for reading! (this isn’t quite a book announcement, I think that that will follow some time in July, but it is coming!)

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)