I have nothing to wear to the Grammys. - Christine Kane

One of my clients (I’ll call her Sylvia) knows it’s time to take the plunge.

She’s writing her first book.

She announced this during a recent phone call.  And before I had the chance to congratulate her or even coach her about the writing, the structure, or the process, she uttered a single sentence that went something like this:

“Okay, so, I met this guy who runs a publishing warehouse place, and he said that authors who self-publish have to print at least 5000 copies, kind of like you have to print at least 1000 CD’s when you’re a musician, but 5000 was the minimum, unless of course you do a print-on-demand arrangement and you get as many or as few as you want, but I wasn’t sure which option would be the best thing to do so I’d like to know what do you think about it and if you have some resources for me on this one and if you have thoughts on what I should do…”

The coaching I gave Sylvia was simple.

But first, I told her about the “I have nothing to wear to the Grammys” loop.

When I used to be a bad-ass rock-star, I occasionally taught songwriting.  Along the way, I heard every single excuse known to man for why songs didn’t get written.

They all had exactly two things in common:

1 – They were projections into the future.

2 – They had nothing to do with the task at hand. (Sitting down and writing the freakin’ song.)

Once this loop begins, it projects bigger and wider out into the future, until conveniently, you can’t POSSIBLY write the song because – let’s face it – you have absolutely nothing to wear to the Grammys once this song you haven’t written is nominated.

The good news is you save yourself the hassle and stress of having to measure up to Lady Gaga.

The bad news is you get nothing done.

Sylvia knew what I was going to say before I said it.  (In fact, she laughed in recognition of how sneaky her own fears had been.)

Start writing your book, and then let’s explore publishing options.

We broke the process down into do-able chunks, and now she has a plan. She’s excited.

Our fears (and yes, we all have them) like to make everything more complicated than it ever is or ever will be.

All you need to do is the very next step in front of you.

  • Biz

    HA! Somehow I missed this one the first time around. You certainly are bringing out the old stuff! ::giggle::

    Old yes, but outdated, no. Not in the least.

    “Our fears (and yes, we all have them) like to make everything more complicated than it ever is or ever will be.” ~ I can remember one of my very first questions I ever asked you on one of the Q&A calls, it was about writing my program, and that is exactly how it came across to me. I was making it way more complicated than it ever had to be. Now it’s written. And I launched it a second time. So once again, THANK YOU!!!

  • Carmen Jubinville

    Hey Christine! You always have a great way of saying things! I love this post! Btw… just loaded up on your music at itunes! My favorite song right now: All the Relatives! So catchy!

    Love you bits and pieces Christine!


  • Jennifer

    It’s so easy to get distracted by creating false roadblocks. I liked this article because it pointed out how we have to think in the long and short-term. But the NOW trumps the future every time.

  • Sam

    Thank you Christine Kane! I’ve been thinking about starting a business selling my art (art including numerous different types, here) for a while, but the question that always came back up in my mind was “well what happens when you get too busy to sell your art and take care of all your other responsibilities?” So I’ve taken it and broken it down into little steps, but when that fear (or any similar thought) creeps back in I’ll remember to take your advice. Thanks for another wonderful, insightful article.

  • Amy

    I love it! I have actually thought I shouldn’t write a book because my teeth are crooked and I’d have to get them fixed before I went on Oprah, and when was I going to have time to do that?
    Oh, lord!
    Thank you for the great reminder! I have to go write now…

    • Lani

      Amy – that’s awesome. Hope you’re writing right now!

  • Margaret

    This week – on May Day 🙂 – I am finishing the first draft of my first novel and handing it to my editor. Last week I too started panicking about and being overwhelmed by the next step of publishing options (waking up wide eyed in the middle of night, that sort of thing). Then, like you told Sylvia, I told myself to stop and concentrate on finishing the draft first – the “task at hand.” When I am done, I will look at the next steps, and will do so more effectively.

    Thanks for writing what has become yet another timely blog post in my life. I have been reading your blog since 2007. Much of my life and the writing of this novel has benefited from the insights you’ve shared along the way. Through lots of small steps on the tasks at hand, I am happy to report that soon will have written the book I always wanted to write. Thanks for your blog, songs, and wisdom. And Happy Spring!

    • Christine Kane

      Margaret – I totally got chills as I was reading this! I’m so proud of you! (Please let me know when your novel is out so I can purchase a copy!!!)

      • Margaret

        Thank you so much! That means a lot. And I will!

  • Stacey

    I was just thinking that I had nothing to wear to an upcoming Gala…. 😉

  • Debbie

    “All you need to do is the very next step in front of you.” very profound and exactly what I needed to hear.