One thing I’ve seen with myself and others when thinking of starting new project or enter a new medium or environment, is the temptation to find the “right gear” before we begin. We look up resources or tools or examples.
These things are important. But I think they can be an excuse to postpone starting. Because starting can be daunting and scary and awful and hard. Insecurities beg you to look for gear first because they get a reprieve from starting.
But I think the truth in 99.9% of the cases is: You don’t need gear to start.
You don’t need anything to start.
And expect it to be shitty.
Once your started you can find the gear or the tools or the websites or whatever. But just have a go at it. Now. Write a shitty song. Write a shitty story. Write a shitty blog when you have no idea what you’re doing or when it’s going.
Even if you had the “gear”, it was going to be shitty. Because you haven’t done it before.
At least now you have an excuse: “I just said fuck it and started cluelessly. So of course it was shitty.”
You’re off the hook!
As you continue your practice you can start determining what gear you need to get to the next step. But keep stepping while you do that!
A Personal Example
You decide you want to start a new blog. What’s the first thing you should do?
Write a blog post.
You don’t need the best blogging software, a professional template or the right layout. You don’t need to know who can do RSS or schedule posts or what services you can hookup to your website to get more traffic or ad revenue. You don’t even need a computer. You need to start with the heart of your project. Write a blog post on anything you can find. Write it on paper, write it in a google doc. The world doesn’t have to see it. But you need to write it.
Shopping around for “gear” and “features” can be fun. But no matter how much the marketing of those products tells you it will make things “easier”, the easiest thing to do is stop shopping for gear and write your post. Right. Now.
I’m willing to bet that no one has ever started anything in a non-shitty way. (Don’t trust history written by marketing departments – those folks are paid to revise their origins into unerring marvels of providence).
Don’t think about how shitty it is. Don’t try to make it look good.
Just say to yourself “What I’m doing is going to look like shit right now. That doesn’t mean I’m shitty. It just means I’m starting something new”.
Most likely, you have zero followers to your not-yet-started-blog so no one will is going to see it anyways. If you do already have followers you are bringing from elsewhere, then you don’t need to tell them it exists.
Did you know you can write a blog for a few weeks and not share it with anyone?
You don’t need a commercial grade kitchen to crack a couple of eggs. Just start shitty. Drop one of the eggs on the floor. Just start.
Another reason you should not “shop for gear”: You are allowing your energy and enthusiasm be sucked away as you compare yourself to nebulous others as you try to get the gear “they have”.
What’s more, you probably don’t even know what you need until you start. Who knows if you’ll even get the right gear after all that time you spent on researching?
Starting shitty also frees you from judgment (since you must accept the shittiness to declare the first step “done”) and starting shitty allows you to take more risks (because how bad could it end up? It’s already shitty.)
There’s only ONE way that you will remain shitty and that’s if you never get out of “gear buying” mode.
If you keep at it and ignore the desire to buy “gear” you will not stay shitty for long.
Now start shitty. (I just did).
[Note: this blog post was updated from the original wording after I wrote 100,000 words in my blog. I do not consider the updated version shitty.]