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  • Writer's pictureJessica Austgen

A Start is a Start

Before you read too far, I feel it’s only fair to warn you: this isn’t going to be a very good blog post. I haven’t outlined it, I didn’t overthink what I wanted to say, and I certainly didn’t consider SEO—or google what exactly SEO even is—before sitting down and tap-tap-tapping away at my keyboard. But this post needed to get written, needed to get posted, needed to be out there in the vast wilds of the internet and here’s why: because I have to start somewhere. Even if that somewhere is an imperfect little post that’s likely only going to get worse before it gets better.

If you’ve made it all the way to the second paragraph, I’m betting you have some idea where I’m coming from, don’t you? You see: I want to be perfect. Don't we all?

I’ve been intending to start a new blog for a while (and by “new,’ I do mean “a blog that isn’t my old myspace blog c. 2007”). I researched platforms, read eight million articles about how to blog, locked down social media handles for the blog title*. But what I never did is actually write anything.

There’s this fear of starting out, isn’t there? A nagging sensation that whatever posts I bang out won’t be right, won’t be good, won’t be quality content. “What if it’s not on topic?” “What if I can’t think of a headline?” “What if the images I choose are dumb?” Every single time I think beyond the planning stages of writing a blog post, I get so overwhelmed by all the options and potential outcomes that I freeze in place. And I write nothing.

I mean, this is annoying for so many reasons, but it’s particularly dumb if you take into consideration that what I want to blog about—what I’ve been teaching in workshops and seminars for the last decade for fucks sake—is Creative Confidence. The idea that everyone has the potential to create, they just need to begin.

In the Before Times (aka, prior to March 13th, 2020), i was an improv teacher, and I loved loved loved working with absolute beginners. The type of folks who thought they could never come up with something to say in an improvised scene, or possibly be funny or clever. And my advice to them was, “Just do something. Anything. Whatever feels right, and authentic and honest to to you. Do that.”

And it always worked. A small gesture, an honest reaction, saying the first thing that popped into their heads. They realized that they didn’t need to be SNL-funny in their first class. They didn’t need to do the same stuff as the guy next to them… and they shouldn’t: we are our own unique beasts in this creative world. What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you, and trying to cram your artistry into someone else’s mold is the path to madness. Believe me, I've been there.

So... I’ve told thousands of improv newbies the same thing over the years, "Just start. Just do something. It doesn’t have to be perfect. We all have to start somewhere." And now I've finally realized that I need to take my own advice.

This is my start. I hope the next post is better, but it’s okay if it’s not. I posted my first post today, and that’s enough.

What have you been waiting to start?


*The blog is called Everybody Arts. Because everyone can make art… and it’s also a low-key fart joke. You’re welcome.

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