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Today I was thinking about starting a writing project. Whether it be a journal, memoir, book of fiction, or a poem, we all have to start somewhere. But where?

My dad has kept a journal for upwards of forty or fifty years. My own journal keeping started around 2004. My first book was written in 1979. My first poem was written shortly thereafter. Articles came later, as did novels. My great-aunt wrote poetry, though I’ve no idea when she started scribbling her thoughts.

Countless times I hear people say they’d like to write a book or a memoir, but they can’t. I’ve also heard countless reasons why. No time…no skill…no ideas…no notion of where to start. All I can say is you start where you begin.

Sit down with blank paper and a pen, or computer and open document. Write or type that first word. Then a second word. Etc… Change them and maybe change them back again. It doesn’t matter. The key here is to stick with it until you have something completely down. If it’s a journal, it’s your honest thoughts for that moment. If it’s prose, it’s a first draft, with time to go back and make it better. Ditto for song lyrics if that’s your passion. We all have to start somewhere.

When I began with my journal back around fourteen years ago, I had no grand plan of keeping lengthy journals. I was frustrated, scared, and desperately clinging to optimism at the time, and the writer in me begged–nay, demanded–that I write it down. So I sat and wrote, capturing all the pieces of my tumultuous life at that moment.

Since then, they’ve evolved into ‘chapters’, complete with titles to reflect the period of my life. As each stage of my life changes, one part closes and something new begins, I end that ‘chapter’ and begin a new one. November 24, 2017 I began chapter 11, titled ‘Standing on Faith & Stepping into the Unknown’. Chapter 10 was called ‘Strong in the Storm’. I’ve no idea when or how this eleventh chapter will end, but I don’t worry about it. I just write when inspired, and let the days and pages unfold. They average about a year and a half to two years, though many years ago I had an entire chapter covered in three months. That was an intense three months!

So whether you’re wanting to write that first word or tackle that fiftieth project–just begin it. And that is your point of beginning. You can only go forward from there. Good or bad, it can always be redone, but it can’t be undone. It might be lost or trashed, but it was done. Celebrate yourself, you have started. Congratulations.

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