I often hear that question.  Or, “I can’t decide which project to write.”

Don’t think about writing a book!  That’s a daunting prospect, and it may not be the final “product.”  (You might be writing a series of short stories or essays instead.)

Shrink your thinking.  Just write scenes, any scenes that come to mind.  Eventually, a theme will emerge.

But for now, don’t fret over structure.  Don’t worry how the scenes “fit.”  The only consistency you are going for is fulfilling your promise to yourself to write.  You want to build momentum.  And to train your brain to be confident about your commitment.

It helps to remember that starting a new project is change, and our brains fear change.  They crave certainty, as they have for thousands of years.  Even the thought of change puts our brains on alert.  Often, we aren’t even conscious that our brains are in this “threat-mode,” so we just feel uneasy on some deep level about the lack of certainty – about starting our writing project.

And there is a lot of uncertainty in writing:  Will I be able to finish?  Will people like my writing?  Can I market effectively?  What if I fail?  These underlying thoughts are also perceived as threats.

To make matters worse, our brains in this threat-mode use a lot of oxygen and glucose, so it’s more difficult for us to access our more sophisticated areas of the brain that regulate creativity, problem-solving and analytical thinking.

Get out of this threat-mode (first) by recognizing that it exists and (second) by switching to a “what’s in it for me” mode.  Research has shown that by focusing on the personal benefits of the impending change, our brains actually ease off the threat-mode.  Imagine how you will feel when you’ve begun your story and are immersed in writing it!

Remember, there will always be an excuse to not do the things that scare you.  Don’t let fear win.

Do you find it difficult to start a new writing project?  Share your thoughts below.

Kelly Hayes-Raitt admits she sleeps around.  Usually with animals.

More on that in a moment…

Her passion is helping writers get their books jumpstarted.  Her coaching clients call her “inspiring,” and students in her workshops rave about her unique teaching techniques.  Learn more about working one-on-one with Kelly at www.JumpStartMyBook.org.

Or join her in Cape Town, South Africa, February 1 – 10, 2020, for a magical writing retreat to jumpstart your book!  www.JumpStartMybook.org/writers-retreat/

OK, the sleeping around thing?  She’s a full-time housesitter and has been traveling the world for the past decade.  She’s learned a thing or two about housesitting and shares her knowledge and experience in her popular book How to Become a Housesitter:  Insider Tips from the HouseSit Diva available in soft cover or Kindle at Amazon or ebook on her web site www.HouseSitDiva.com.

Before nomading, Kelly reported live from Iraq during the early weeks of the U.S.-led invasion.  Her journalism has won several literary awards and has been widely published in anthologies.  The girl’s got stories.