Achievement means first making a start

This morning I was made aware of how much my attitude limits my achievements. A television interview with athlete and paralympian Rick Hansen left me in awe of the example he sets, not just for the physically handicapped but for everyone. He has already accomplished more in his life than many able-bodied ever will.

While discussing his Man in Motion world tour — when he wheeled himself around the world, 40,000 kilometers through thirty-four countries on four continents — Rick was asked what was the greatest hurdle he encountered. He said it was overcoming inertia and the fear of making a start.

Now, if that doesn’t speak to us at every stage in our writing endeavours, nothing will. Think about

  • stopping to focus and select an idea
  • accepting a schedule or a goal
  • picking a moment to sit down and start writing
  • committing to finishing the manuscript
  • beginning again, whether rewriting or revising
  • searching out appropriate critiquers and/or an editor
  • sending out queries and submissions
  • moving on to new material

What’s your biggest writing hurdle right now? What can (and will) you do to try and overcome it?

What are you going to do while you’re here, with your every breath? — Rick Hansen



Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

12 thoughts on “Achievement means first making a start

    1. I can relate. I’ve been working on a non-fiction contest piece and suddenly realized that there’s too much trivia accumulating. Time to start cutting, but it’s hard to decide what should go and what should stay.

  1. My hurdle is my back. There are small windows of pain-free writing every day, and if I miss one, I get frustrated. I can’t have a writing schedule and routine. I have to play each day as it unwinds. When I have only a few minutes, I visit blogs and check e-mail.

    I don’t know how to overcome my dilemma.

    1. That’s a tough one. Is there any medical intervention that can extend your pain-free periods? Or can you alter your writing locale to be more accommodating… like going wireless and writing in a recliner or standing at a counter with a laptop (or wherever you experience the least discomfort)?

  2. Great post, Carol. If Rich Hansen isn’t an inspiration, no one is! He’s incredible. A true Canadian hero!

    In writing, I find I suffer from the “getting started” blues. I think about what I want to write, scrawl a few notes, but don’t really get down to the work of writing unless I know the deadline is looming. A deadline works for me to get going on projects.

    Recently I bought myself a big dry erase board and wrote all the writing projects and all the other nonwriting projects like volunteer work and just the daily errands of life that bog down my mind and keep me from writing.I’m a very visual person and the cliche “Out of sight, out of mind” really applies.

    I put down all the deadlines for everything. At least seeing them there each day is a reminder to get moving on them and I won’t forget any of them. No guarantees I’ll enter every writing contest or send a submission but at least the reminder is there. And the bonus is that I get the errands done, too and they’re not in my head cluttering up the space I can use for thinking about my latest story.

    1. Your dry erase board sounds like a great idea. I’m a list-maker for some tasks, but not usually for writing things. Deadlines definitely motivate me, but as I’m rushing to meet them I’m muttering about why I left myself so little time. LOL

  3. I’m so undisciplined. Just this week I was telling DH if I ever hit it big, I’m going to need an office outside the home. Otherwise I spend all my time tidying up, doing laundry and spot cleaning. Subconsciously, I think it’s my attempt at procrastinating without appearing lazy.

  4. Rick Hansen is a great inspiration!

    Right now my biggest hurdle is wanting to get started on my next WIP while wrapping up the last one. I want to jump in with both feet, but I have to make sure I don’t rush through what I’m working on at the present moment. The ending is already there and the beginning is peeking up at me. Patience…I talk about it enough, now it’s time to show a little more.

    1. That’s about where I am, too. My goal was to have one of my earlier novels revised and ready for submission by the end of this summer. It is, and I’m working on the synopsis and query, but I really want to get back to what was set aside before I made this commitment. It may be an avoidance thing as I’d rather be working on the other story than creating a synopsis!

  5. My dad was wheelchair bound from a fall. His attitude (& sense of humor) was inspiring. I watched him do some amazing things from that chair & saw him fall out of the chair plenty of times ‘trying’. That influence & example wasn’t wasted – I tend to think that no mission is impossible.

    What’s my hurdle??? Time n’ place – as usual.

    For Tricia – LOTSA ICE (my doc wanted me on a morphine patch!) I’m never pain free but I’m too stupid to slow down, apparently. When it’s really bad – I climb into the freezer & act like a pack of frozen vegetables.
    Cathy – Dry Erase Boards are the BEST. Can’t function without them. I should post pics of how I use them. (It’s my way of trying to look like Einstein.)

    For Carol – Nice post – Rick sounds like a great person. Thanks for including his links. Caught that crack about my map observances BTW. Uh Huh.

    1. I know your time and place problem is a big one, but hopefully at least the place part is temporary. It should ease things considerably when your feet are firmly planted in one place again.

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