The best writing advice always contains paradox.


If you’re wondering if it’s the right time to make a big creative step that feels risky, like sending a query letter to an agent, submitting a short story to a contest, taking a leave of absence from your day job to focus on your memoir, or starting to write a novel you’ve been thinking about for years…

  1. Start now, before you feel ready! 

  2. Pause. Start when you feel ready.

Both are great pieces of advice, depending on the context. 

I have published my writing before it felt perfectly finished, ready, 100% cooked — because if I waited until I felt done, I would be revising it forever.

I’ve put my latest draft in a drawer, because I don’t know what the story wants yet. I need to let it rest and live a bit more from my life before I get it. 

Both ways are the right way to do it.

We’re human beings, and we’re always changing.

And stories are about human beings going through change!

“Done” is a moving target, impossible to pin down anyway.

We grow through our writing. This is an awesome process, when you think about it.

So: you might be ready to publish your story now, and delight your readers with it.

Or, you might be mastering a new skill, and you want to take more time.  

“Done” doesn’t exist separate from you and your editorial decisions. 

Ready is a choice you get to make.

Take a breath. There’s no wrong way to do this. 

Questions to ask yourself to help you find clarity and feel unstuck:

  • What feels the most like fun?

  • What feels the most life-giving?

  • Where is the current of energy?

Sometimes, taking action feels more expansive and exciting. 

Sometimes, the current is zapping and sizzling inside the pause. 

Go where the energy is for you, right now.

Sarah Selecky

Photo credit: Ali Syaaban on Unsplash.

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