Actually do it

I was tempted to call this post ‘J*st do it’, but I’m told that those three words are owned by Nike Corporation, and I am worried that their use one after the other (beginning with ‘just’ and followed immediately by ‘do’ and ‘it’) in any context whatsoever and for any purpose whatsoever might now be illegal in all jurisdictions. I am a little anxious that even the judicious use of asterisks might not protect me from prosecution, and so ‘Actually do it’ will have to do.

So, actually do it.

These three words are the secret to success in a multitude of circumstances. It’s certainly true of writing. When someone comes to me (as they quite often do), indicating their desire to be a writer, and then asks me how to go about it, I have only these three words to say to them: actually do it.

You become a writer not by desiring to be a writer, reading books about writing, going to seminars and creative writing workshops, hanging around on literary blogs, reading good literature, or saying at dinner parties that you have always thought that you might like to write. It doesn’t matter how long you sit in trendy cafés with a latte and a laptop, or how many times you write down ideas for a story in your black Moleskine notebook. There is only one way to become successful at writing, and that is to … actually do it. I think it was the American novelist William Faulkner who said that the art of writing is “the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair”. You just have to actually do it, and keep on doing it. And in most cases, if you actually do it, you’ll gain quite some success at writing (because relatively few people have grasped this secret).

A friend of mine who works for the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students says that this is also the secret to fundraising for Christian ministry. The really successful fundraisers—the people who seem to have no trouble finding donations and generating support—are those rare individuals who have cracked the code and discovered the secret: they actually do it. They actually ask people for money, and the amazing thing is, people give them some.

Actually do it: it also works for evangelism, prayer and reading the Bible. Don’t just think about it; learn about it, hear sermons about it, do courses in it, and go to conferences to get fired up about it.

Acutally. Do. It.

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