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The Next Step…

What is the ‘Next Step’?

They say the first step is always the hardest. I can sit for hours in front of the ‘Blank Page’ and wonder how to start a new project. I type, backspace, type and backspace. The first step is a difficult one, but it’s not the hardest. The next step is.

Scattered across a few hard and cloud drives there are dozens of half-abandoned projects,  If you look hard enough, you’ll probably find one or two other blogs I’ve done. Once I’ve passed the first line, I can write for hours. Ideas fire left, right and centre. It’s one of the most enjoyable parts about being a writer because it’s when my ideas appear on the ‘Blank Page’.

Eventually, as I roll through the story, I run out of steam. But hey, I’ve got a few thousand words written. I was productive. I’ll do more tomorrow. Oh yeah, I have that work thing. I’ll do it on the weekend then. Yeah, I can go for a quick drink. Go to Surfers? Sure, I need to chill. Oh, I should write now. Maybe after this episode. I’m the worst procrastinator.

Looking at my phone
“That’s one crazy kitty!”

 

The next step is when the fun ends, and the tedium begins. It’s when you’ve burnt yourself out in one creative burst. Or even worse, it’s when you realise that you wrote a big pile of crap and there’s nothing you can do to fix it. The next step is continuing when you don’t want to anymore.

Pushing Through

One of my favourite author quotes of all times is from Douglas Adams.

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” – Douglas Adams in ‘The Salmon of Doubt’

I did everything at the last minute at school. Every time I pulled an all-nighter, I swore to the gods that I’ll do better next time, that I would do a little each day. That never happened. Sunday night would come along again, and I would be fluttering on the keyboard consuming copious amounts of caffeine and junk to stay awake. I don’t have the healthiest of habits.

I’ve usually avoided the second step. At first, I’d justify it by saying “I’ve got to get my homework done first” or “I’m too tired. I’ll do double tomorrow.” Eventually, the project is simply abandoned and forgotten. When there is no definite purpose, when there is no deadline to reach, I drop it.

It’s one of the reasons I started my Masters in Writing. There are deadlines out of my control. There are real consequences if I fail. I have to push through with a bottle of Coke No Sugar and hope I make it to the other side. Again, it’s not the healthiest of habits, but it works.

The Second Step
“Must….Stay….Awake! Must…Finish…Essay!”

 

I need pressure to write. I want it. I crave it. It’s the only thing that gets me through that second step and beyond.

Purpose

This blog exists because I need to put pressure on my creative pursuits. I need a place where I meet deadlines, where there are expectations of me, where there are consequences if I don’t get it done. I need to learn how to take the ‘next step’. That’s the difference between an amateur writer and a professional author. They know how to take it.

It’s time for me to step up.

Happy reading to you all.

Matt.

Pictures sourced at unsplash.com by Jake Hills, Bruce Mars and Victoria Heath.