And you just begin…

A fun thing happened to me recently. I started doing some freelance writing and have actually gotten paid for it. (!!!)

This is a major milestone for me. Milestones are good, right? Markers of advancement.

But sometimes milestones feel more like boulders, don’t they. Looming over our path, casting shadows of doubt across our progress… It’s usually just an illusion, created in our own minds, but they can act as a real impediment nevertheless.

the self-styled life begin

Bath Road Milestone by Peter Reed on Flickr

As such, I’d been waiting to cross this milestone for a long time. People always say a “writer” is someone who writes. But for me, to feel I could truly call myself a writer, the money factor meant something. Perhaps it’s some trick of imposter syndrome, but having a paycheque to back up my claim has been important for me to feel authentic in adopting the title.

And this was daunting. Where to start? How to begin? Those initial questions that always freeze us up at the beginning. And the truth is that I don’t have some big, inspirational origin story. A friend recommended a freelancing website to me, I signed up, and I just began.

So I guess the wisdom is that if you can find a small, non-threatening step toward that thing that confronts you, pulls you, but scares you, take that step. And then take the next one. And before you know it you’re at a point that seemed unreachable not so long ago. Soon you’ll find yourself facing another daunting milestone. Because progress is a process of continuously starting, isn’t it? But you find the small step toward that goal. And you take it. And you just begin, over and over and over again.

the self-styled life Croatia

Steps in Dubrovnik, Croatia, a city of many secret staircases and hidden alleyways. Photo credit: ME!

What have I written? Ha. Nothing you’ll have read. But I don’t care. And I’ve made a mere pittance so far, because I simply don’t have enough time to make a living. Yet. What’s important is that I’m doing it, and other people are valuing something that I’ve always valued in myself.

And do you know what else happened? Once I started these writing projects for hire, my energy exploded, and I started writing all sorts of other things, things that maybe you will read someday.

My mom told me that she recently started painting, a hobby she’s wanted to pursue for years but has put off, thinking that she had more important things to do first. But then she just decided to start, hoping that maybe this creative effort would feed some of her other projects. And I couldn’t agree more with that assessment. It’s like exercise.

I think there comes a point when you realize that you have to just begin. None of us knows how much time we have here. It’s a trite reflection, but I feel this fact much more deeply now having lost someone close to me. And when you accept this, you realize you just have to begin because the consequences of NOT DOING feel so much worse than the worst possible consequences of DOING.

And so you just begin. 

What are you waiting to begin? What’s holding you back?

{And on another fun little note, I was finally able to buy, which had been parked and unused for many years, and this had been a bit of an impediment for me. Perhaps the universe is telling me it’s time to get back to work here, too! (And pro tip: if you start a blog, don’t cheap out. Just pay the $20 or whatever to get your own domain!)}

16 responses to “And you just begin…

  1. Congrats! I have an idea for a (gasp) new business (one that 2 people are saying I MUST DO NOW) and am totally daunted but also excited to start taking the baby steps to see if it’s even viable.

  2. Yet another lovely perspective Jean! I am so chuffed for your actual real-life writing job (and slightly more so for your .com win too!) I cannot wait to read some more of your stuff and you have once again motivated me to take a very tentative step towards freelance work (albeit I’m not sure if there’s a market for sleep-deprived ramblings with a misuse of semi colons!!!) x

  3. Woo Hoo!!!!! Great news about the writing gig and the domain. love you… sista’ deb.

    cheers~ deborah

    Deborah Goldstein *DRIVEN Professionals | Facebook | Twitter * *212-204-9467*

    On Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 12:57 PM, the self-styled life wrote:

    > Jean Brown posted: “A fun thing happened to me recently. I started doing > some freelance writing and have actually gotten paid for it. (!!!) This is > a major milestone for me. Milestones are good, right? Markers of > advancement. But sometimes milestones feel more like bou” >

  4. Great start! I’m finally taking students on a trip abroad and it has opened up so many doors just to get started with the process! Just take one step and then take the next one!

  5. Boulders can be physical limitations that get in your thinking that prevent you from continuing working on goals you have had established for years that seem to never get reached and you start to see yourself not being able to handle things as well and you find yourself constantly re-evaluating your plan and wondering if this is truly what you want or if you just want to enjoy life. I am 66 and handicapped and my vision feels like it needs adjustment but I don’t know how. My blog below gives you the beginning of my journey.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m sorry for your difficulties–I think about this a lot, the importance of health, especially seeing my dad with the Parkinson’s. I think it’s great you’re writing through your journey. I love your list of ideas at the end–the sustainable and accessible dream house sounds amazing, as do all the travel plans. I say keep at those goals, for sure!

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