The beginning of every writing session is like setting down a road unknown

Any time we begin something new – speaking in front of people we’ve never met, trying out a new electronic device, driving around a city we’re visiting for the first time – there’s a good chance that we’ll feel a little nervous. Our stomach might tighten, our hands could get clammy, we may even break a sweat. When that physical response occurs, our instincts tell us to avoid the danger.

As a writer, you’ve probably experienced such sensations when pulling the chair up to the keyboard or opening your notebook. Queasiness takes over because you’re uncertain what to write or if what you plan to say will be good enough. There’s a distinct danger of failing.

Indeed, for writers each new book, chapter, paragraph and even sentence is akin to setting down a road unknown. Each time we begin to write mimics turning onto tan unknown road heading into the desert. What if we run out of gas out there? What if we get lost? Who knows what other threats await in that vast emptiness?

There’s no reward without risk, though. After all, who knows what great scenery lays ahead, what discoveries may be made, what Eden awaits at the western end of that highway? We never will know – we never will finish the sentence, paragraph, chapter or book – if we do not drive onward.

Even if upon reaching our destination nothing lays ahead but more desert, the journey itself was worth it. With that trek and each one that follows, the next road becomes easier to navigate. The experience alone enriches us.

Yes, we can decide to never set down that highway and instead pull off onto the shoulder. Our queasiness and self-doubts then may subside. But what have you given up?

Only your dream.