Waiting for "The Right Moment"

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.”

—Mark Victor Hansen

My friend Phil Brewer, who is a counselor and leadership trainer, once told me of a memorable trip he took to Europe some years ago.

“I went to Switzerland,” he said, “and I interviewed several writers and thinkers, including Paul Tournier, the great Swiss psychiatrist. Dr. Tournier made a statement that had a profound impact on my life. In his wonderful French-accented English, he told me, ‘People are always looking for the right time and the perfect place to write, to paint, to accomplish some goal. They say, I have to be in the mountains, I have to be on the coast, everything must be just so. But if you look at all the great achievements of history, you will see that they have largely been done in cold, cramped, unpicturesque conditions. Look where all the great people and all the great achievements have come from, and you see that they always seem to come from deprived situations.'”

Phil concluded, “Those words hit me right between the eyes. It took me years to fully absorb the great truth that Dr. Tournier gave me. I’m still absorbing it. I think he saw in me a perfectionist streak that so often keeps me from starting a project until ‘just the right moment.’ I want a cup of coffee, but I want to drink it on the beach in Maui. The point is this: If you’re going to write the Great American Novel, then write it. Don’t put it off until everything’s just so. Do it, and do it now.”

What about you? Are you waiting for the “perfect conditions” or for “just the right moment”? Then I have good news for you! “Just the right moment” is now.

“My house has a living room that is at the core of everything that goes on: it is a passageway to the cellar, to the kitchen, to the closet where the phone lives. There’s a lot of traffic. But it’s a bright, cheerful room, and I often use it as a room to write in, despite the carnival that is going on all around me. … The members of my household never pay the slightest attention to my being a writing man — they make all the noise and fuss they want to. If I get sick of it, I have places I can go. A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

—E. B. White

Jim Denney is a writer with more than 100 published books to his credit, including the Timebenders science-fantasy series. He is the author of several books on writing, including Writing in Overdrive: Write Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly and Write Fearelessly: Conquer Fear, Eliminate Self-Doubt, Write with Confidence. He has written books with supermodel Kim Alexis, Star Trek actress Grace Lee Whitney, and two Super Bowl champions, quarterback Bob Griese and “The Minister of Defense,” Reggie White. He has co-written many books with Pat Williams (co-founder of the Orlando Magic), including Leadership Excellence and The Mission is Remission. Jim is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Follow Jim on Twitter at @WriterJimDenney and follow his blog at http://jimdenney.tumblr.com/.