The Myth of Being Ready

Sounds mysterious, doesn’t it?

It’s not. But it is something that I think is very real, and if you guys wouldn’t mind giving me some feedback on it, that would rock.

The myth of being ready is knowing what you want to do in a given situation (work or writing, for example), and instead of taking action, you convince yourself that you are not ready for some bogus reason. Not enough education, not enough money, not enough time. Whatever. The idea of being ready for anything is, in part, a myth and a lie. You can prepare and learn, but I don’t think there is such a thing as being ready. 

My example:

    • Graduate from college and convince myself I’m not ready for a real job yet because a) the economy was tanking, b) I had an English degree, and c) I wanted to keep learning
    • Went to grad school to learn everything I could learn about writing fiction
    • Graduate from grad school and convince myself I’m not ready to start a novel
    • Then convince myself I’m not ready to be a successful freelance writer because a) I don’t have enough experience, b) there are better writers out there, and c) I’m not prepared
    • I took an e-course to learn about magazine writing. When I finished, I still didn’t feel ready.
    • I’m taking an AWAIonline copywriting course and resume writing course, and even though I’m doing work in both areas right now, I still feel like I’m not ready.

What’s with that? 

When are we ever really ready? How many thousands of kids just graduated college and feel scared shitless and like they are completely not ready at all for the real world, even though after 4 or more years of studying and preparing, they should feel ready?

How many people have kids, feeling completely out of their element and like no amount of reading or classes will help make them feel ready?

How many people, whether they’re writers, artists, creative people, entrepreneurs, musicians, whatever never do what they want to do simply because they don’t feel ready?

Life, and many professions and talents, are about learning as you go. Education is great, even preferred over winging it. But learning as you go isn’t about winging it, right? It’s about arming yourself with knowledge, whether it’s a degree or an e-course or a slew of blogs you read, and just jumping the heck in, already.

I keep telling myself I’m not ready to do this or that with my career, when really, I’m as ready as I’ll be.

I’ve got an education. I know how to write. I have contacts. I know how to find clients. I’m always reading blogs about writing fiction, copywriting, freelancing.

Just this week I was brought on board by a really cool web design company as a freelance copywriter. I’m so excited about working with them. They found me online, needed a copywriter, and decided to give me a shot even though my writing samples don’t feature website copy.

So far, it’s going well. They’re smart web designers and businessmen, and I finally had to tell myself I’m a smart writer and I know what I’m doing.

So I don’t feel ready right this second, but I feel prepared, competant and confident. What does my “ready” even look like? It’s a hazy mental image of me finishing the course, closing my notebook, leaning back in the chair and sighing, “Ah, now I am ready.

That’s crap and I know it because that moment hasn’t come yet after two degrees and lots of experience. It won’t come, because sometimes the best way to figure something out is to just shut up and do it.

This is why I deem “being ready” a total myth. And one we all need to stop waiting for. It becomes an excuse to never try anything if you always think you’re not ready. Maybe I’m protecting myself, or I think I am, but all it does is hold me back when I think I’m not ready to do the work I really want to be doing.

I’ve learned as I went before: teaching flute lessons in high school and college, tutoring in college, freelance writing for newspapers, and now copywriting and resume writing.

At some point you have to stop being afraid of what you think you don’t know, and figure it out when you get there.

Tell me, have you battled with the myth of being ready in your own life? I know I’m not alone in this. What’s your experience been like? Share it in the comments!


6 thoughts on “The Myth of Being Ready”

  1. what i needed! i had over 2 years to plan our wedding and still didn’t feel “ready”…of course i was “ready” to marry my husband, but wasn’t “ready” to have the day happen yet as i felt i had nailed down every… last….godforsaken…freakin… detail. and you know what? we have the most perfect, magical day ever. and some things didn’t get done. and it was OK! you’re right…being ready is a total myth.


    1. I know what you mean!! I felt like I wasn’t ready for our wedding, too, but everything worked out fine. I think you can only put things off for so long until you realize you’ll never be ready, just prepared. I felt totally prepared for our wedding, just like I feel prepared to write copy and start a novel, but fear makes me second guess myself. Such baloney!


  2. i think we are the same page my friend. my biggest obstacle: taking the test on elance. why? because i feel like, even though i am overly prepared and completely qualified i am not going to be able to pass. why do i think this? no idea. but i have been trying to sit down and do it for like, oh, a year, and always convince myself not to. but i must! thanks for writing about this, as it gives me motivation to actually do something about it! maybe we can bounce motivation off each other!

    good things come through action: we both know this! look at your new position copyediting!


  3. This is just the inspiration I needed 🙂 Writing isn’t about being ready, it’s about diving in and just doing it. Preparation is good, but no amount of preparation will ever be “enough”, the only thing that will get you to where you need to be going is by heading straight for it. Thanks for the insight!


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