Hello, writers! I hope your week’s been full of activities that bring you joy and make your heart sing (for all of you reading, I think that translates to “lots of reading and writing”)!
Well, after several months, I am finally at the end of my Unstoppable Writer series! I hope it’s encouraged you to pursue your writing journey with boldness, confidence, and courage, and that any hurdles ahead will be easier to clear with the help of an unstoppable mindset!
Let’s recap what we’ve learned thus far about unstoppable writers. They:
- Establish Clear Goals
- Don’t Just Think – Take Action
- Aren’t Driven By External Things
- Never Stop Learning
- Never Arrive
- Are True to Themselves
- Aren’t Afraid of Failure
- Work on Their Mental Strength
- Overcome Negative Thoughts
- Aren’t Envious of Others’ Accomplishments
- Make Time for Rest and Rejuvenation
Without further ado, the twelfth and final thing you must do to be an unstoppable writer is:
Start Before You’re Ready
“Screw it, just get on and do it.” – Sir Richard Branson
I am of the opinion that if something’s really important to you, there will never be a perfect time to pursue it.
Think about the latest movie you saw or novel you read. In most cases (unless the hero starts out as an arrogant jerk face), the protagonist is less than enthused about taking on whatever obstacle presents itself, no matter how critical it is for him (or her) to overcome it. He hems and haws, digs in his heels, “resisting the call,” as Joseph Campbell so succinctly put it. Fear of the unknown holds the hero back, and only when he accepts the call and takes the journey will he undergo the transformation audiences are hoping for.
Granted, most stories also feature the all-important training phase (often depicted as an action-heavy montage with super-catchy music) whereby the hero acquires the knowledge and skills he needs to fight the foe. Think of Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, Daniel in The Karate Kid, or Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. They don’t just roll out of bed one day and decide to be heroes, but neither do they insist on perfection before they take on their respective bad guys.
Sir Richard Branson, the businessman I quoted above, dropped out of school in 1966 at age sixteen. With a friend’s assistance, he started a student magazine and made money selling ads to local businesses. At age twenty, he began selling mail-order records to the students who purchased the magazine. These sold so well that he built his first record store the following year. After two years of running the store, he decided it was time to open his own recording studio and have his own record label.
One of the artists who recorded in Branson’s studio, a gentleman by the name of Mike Oldfield, recorded the hit song “Tubular Bells” which went on to sell over five million copies.
Over the next ten years, Branson’s label added singers and bands such as Peter Gabriel, The Rolling Stones (you might have heard of them), Paula Abdul, and the Sex Pistols. But Branson didn’t stop there. He also formed Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Trains, Virgin Mobile, and Virgin Australia.
Fifty years after dropping out of high school, Branson is now a billionaire who’s launched over 400 companies. Oh, yeah, and as his title implies, he was also knighted at Buckingham Palace for “services to entrepreneurship.” Not a bad resume!
“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them … from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it.” – Sir Richard Branson
What makes Richard Branson unstoppable is his seemingly simplistic approach to life, which is perfectly encapsulated in the aforementioned mantra, “Screw it, just get on and do it.”
Branson doesn’t sit around discussing ideas till the cows come home. He doesn’t look for reasons for why an idea won’t work; he focuses on how it can work. He doesn’t let “paralysis by analysis” get the better of him, and the word procrastination isn’t in his vocabulary.
Branson may be an extreme example, but his mindset is one we writers should seek to model if we want to be unstoppable. He’s proof that with a little bit of know-how and a whole lot of perseverance, faith, and tenacity, we can achieve our dreams. In Branson’s case, the sky is quite literally the limit (although, maybe he’ll found Virgin Space Travel one of these days…), and we too can meet, and even exceed, our highest hopes if we will only
In Branson’s case, the sky is quite literally the limit (although, maybe he’ll found Virgin Space Travel one of these days…), and we too can meet, and even exceed, our highest hopes if we will only have the courage to start before we’re ready.
Stoppable people wait until all their ducks are in a row. Ducks like time, skills, connections, experiences, and money. They wait until they’re cozy and secure and when failure is a near impossibility.
Even when no one else believes in them, unstoppable individuals listen to and trust the inextinguishable passion inside them. The only permission they need is from the childlike voice inside them, the one that isn’t afraid of a little adventure. The one that refuses to endlessly daydream when there’s so little time and so much to create and explore.
You, my friend, have what it takes to get started right this second. Who you are, the ideas you have, the God-given talent flowing through you…it’s all more than enough to get you going. I urge you not to let another day pass without pursuing your art and doing so with rock-solid, unshakable belief in yourself.
Lives are waiting to be touched and changed by your stories; don’t wait to start telling them.