How many times have you heard someone say ‘one day I’ll write a book…’? Yes, yes, we all have a book inside us. And often that’s the best place for it to stay (says she with a first draft in a box beneath her bed). Something is holding us back from writing the Great British Novel, or starting any project, probably the fear of starting.

But will we ever be ready? There’s always an excuse not to start – we need to do more research, find the right people, clear space in our diary. I’m a qualified project manager, I know about Prince 2 and the importance of having a plan, or at least a vague idea of how to get from A to B. But sometimes you just have to start and learn as you go along. Here’s how:

  • Produce something. Anything is better than a blank page. You can’t revise, edit or delete a blank page. Your first attempt may be terrible. But you can bury it. No one will know. Or care. You are not George Clooney forever living with the celluloid reminder of his role in Return of the Killer Tomatoes!
  • Attack the project with gusto. It’s all too easy to start, get half way through, realise it’s not as good as you had hoped and abandon the project. Then start again. Only to abandon it half way through. You get the picture. Ignore your inner critic and concentrate on completing a first draft. The feeling of achievement will give you the momentum to carry you through subsequent rewrites and edits.
  • This too will pass. Very rarely is anything final. In the age of publishing online it’s easy to make changes. Changes to print are made when the title is reprinted. Editors even have a special folder to collect the changes. That’s how normal it is.
  • If it doesn’t work the first time, try, try again. Then give up. Accept that what you’ve produced is not living up to the image of perfection you have in your head. But let others be the judge of whether it’s any good. The reason so many inventors are not millionaires is because they never get their product to market – they always have one more modification to make. Don’t be like them. Get your website, book or whatever out there, get feedback. And try again.