i always do this thing where...

via ordinary courage

i come up with these insanely ambitious, over-complicated ideas and then psych myself out about them to the point where i don't even start working on anything and end up with a big fat nothing after days, weeks, or months of thought.

for example, i can't tell you how many blog posts i have finished, sitting right there in draft status.

(about a bajillion)

over the past year or so, i've been cooking up ideas about what my first book should and shouldn't look like.  it shouldn't be a cookbook because i don't want to be pigeon-holed as a cookbook writer.  it should be beautiful, inspirational, groundbreaking and just plain brilliant.  it shouldn't do anything less than completely encapsulate every iota of my being and entire belief system.  it should make me a bazillion dollars.

you get the point.

and you'll probably guess where i'm going with this--i've psyched myself out so much about this theoretical book that i haven't allowed myself to even start working on it.

pretty ridiculous.  yep.

so when i came up with a most excellent book idea last year, the first thing i did was to dismiss it because it didn't fit any of my criteria.  even though i can imagine this book being a total hit, i didn't allow myself to consider working on it because it didn't seem ambitious or difficult enough.

um, crazy much?

it took my off-handedly mentioning the idea to a seasoned book publishing professional and seeing her extreme reaction (wherein she essentially called me a total idiot for not getting on this train faster) to see that this actually is a good fantastic idea, one that makes total sense for me to start with, and in the words of one of my mentors, a sort of synecdoche of my larger body of work (real world sage that he is, he also warned me that no book is easy to write, no book is a sure-fire bet, and all books are intensely painful to work on).

ever since then, i haven't been able to stop thinking about it.  more than that, i've even started writing.  all it took was shattering the crazy framework of expectation i'd imposed on myself to see that sometimes the path of least resistance really is the way to go.