The Next Steps
First steps. They are hard, right? When you are about to embark on something new and unfamiliar, making the first move can be terrifying. But then you do it and you’re there! The first awful step is done and now you can continue on the rest of the steps with ease and confidence because the scary part is over.
Hot take: the next steps are even scarier.
I fear first steps. I fear change in general. I hesitate before making any and let my anxiety give me a PowerPoint presentation as to why I shouldn’t move an inch. But then I do it and relief floods over me for a few minutes. I am free and ready to continue.
Then I don’t.
I famously never finish things. Okay, maybe not famously. However, to list a few, I have plenty of stories without ends (or middles), diets that ended within a few weeks in spite of great results, exercise regimens, film scripts, French lessons on an app that is literally the easiest thing in the world to open and do, and skincare routines. These are all commons things people give up. They are relatable and all require a first step to make them happen and next steps to keep them going. I always falter on the next steps to make them a full routine or finish a work in progress. It’s easier if I just let it fall to the side, nothing to see here, just walk away.
There are next steps that are more crucial than making sure you use toner every day and night. They are the scarier next steps. They are the ones that freeze me in my tracks.
I created a website that encompasses my writing and my acting. I moved my blog over from here to Squarespace and I moved my domain that was my actor page as well. It is now all under my name on one site. That is breaking some rules I was taught years ago but that’s another post for another day.
It is almost ready to go live for the blog. That means I will be paying for it and starting a new chapter in my writing where I have a site about my work that looks professional and could possible lead to something bigger. I am pretty much petrified of this next step. It seems silly; it is just a website. Lots of people have them. I had one for acting for the past six or so years. Yet here is my thought process:
Do I have enough people who read this to support paying for a site?
Am I even a good writer?
What happens when nothing changes?
What if everything changes and this takes off and all my dreams come true?
Is this a smart move? Is it pretty? Am I terrible at website design?
What if I can’t get to the next step?
What if I can?
I panic after first steps. I think it is natural to panic before them but it is frightening to keep going after you do that first hurdle. Let’s say you have five steps leading to a door. You go up the first one; it’s a big one. You get there, stumbling only a little. Then the second and third are easier; maybe they are shorter and you don’t have to step as high. But then there is step four and five. After four, there is only five and then the door. The door that could open to your biggest goal. A door that would change your life if you step through it and how would that feel? Would you be able to handle it? Would it not be as wonderful as you dreamed? What if there is nothing behind the door and you walked up all these steps for nothing?
Next steps are worst than first. I stand by it. Getting closer to the door may be easier for some but for me, it is what sends sparks through my body as I panic. It can be incredibly difficult to press that publish button. The unknown is out there and it is closing in the further you walk. There is such a tangled mess of wanting change but rejecting it when it comes. Or avoiding it all together.
I sat for a long time with my thoughts about next steps regarding my writing. I had done it all before with acting. I fell in love with it, went to school for it, worked professionally in a variety of fields and continued my education with it learning about branding and creating my own work. Those were all next steps after I decided to pursue it as a career. Now I am starting over and it feels daunting and I am very unsure about what is the right move.There are many ways to play this game, of course. Just like there is with acting. So, I decided to start small with a website that features my blog, my fairy tales, my novel progress, and hopefully links to published works if I ever get around to that next step.
Will these next steps go the way of my exercise regimen? Maybe. But if I don’t do them, I will never know. And that might be more fearsome than taking them in the first place.