I get the ball, I throw the ball, and then I take a shower.
– Mariano Rivera, Pitcher for the New York Yankees
You got the gig. You have your mission. Now what?
Every new project sends shivers of terror and giddiness down the spine. Your imagination starts churning—and not always in your favor.
What if I screw up? What if this launches my career? This could be the greatest thing to ever happen to me. Or the worst. Holy crap, what do I do-o-o-o-o?
Take a page out of Mariano Rivera’s playbook. Keep it simple.
Get the ball
Take a deep breath and get to know the gig. List your requirements, your end goal and the points you want to highlight to meet that end goal. Make your outline. Organize your notes.
Work out what you know and get comfortable with the task ahead. Use crayon if you feel like it.
Throw the ball
Consider this: every freelance writing project is a matter of finding the right words and putting them in the right order.
Whether it’s a brochure for a Fortune 100 company or a guest post for your favorite blog about cartoons, it’s all a matter of putting one word in front of another. You’ve been doing that since you learned the alphabet. And you’ve only gotten better. In fact, you’ve become so practiced at it that your skills landed you this gig. You know how to write.
Don’t overthink it. Just do it.
Take a shower
Every client, every interview, every project are all different. When you’re done, learn what you can and leave it at that. Don’t dwell on everything that went wrong, could have gone better or how it defines you as a professional writer. Because it doesn’t.
Tomorrow, you’ll come back with a different game plan, a different client, a different purpose, a different project.
Mariano Rivera is one of the greatest relief pitchers to ever set foot on the mound. If he can keep it simple, so can we.
How do you work out the nerves?
5 thoughts on “Simplicity: Your Antidote for First-Project Fear”
You really hit the nail on the head when you said, “Don’t overthink.” I am the queen of overthinking and overanalyzing. The key is to just write. Regardless, you will always have to edit so you’re better of just getting some words on the paper.
I easily do the same thing. Sometimes, if you just take off the expectations and the “what ifs,” you’ll come up with some of the best work.
Which can be both wonderful and frustrating if you’ve just spent hours staring at a blank page trying to force creativity out of every pore. 🙂
YUP, KISS never fails. Good advice. I usually focus by putting in incremental time into the project. I set a daily plan and stick to it. I also try to keep my gym appointments. Nothing like a bit of sweat to clear the mental cobwebs. Then I shower 🙂
Incremental time, daily plan, go to the gym – love it. Yes, regular exercise is so important to stay cobweb-free. When I work onsite, I go for a walk at lunch. When I work from home, I walk a 2.5 mile nature trail near where I live. Then it’s a shower and back in my bunny slippers.
Rubber ducky in bunny slippers…he he.