“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Begin it now.
A Research Diet Before we begin, you wanna do research? Uh-unh. I’m putting you on a diet. You’re allowed to read three books on your subject. No more. No underlining, no highlighting, no thinking or talking about the documents later. Let the ideas percolate. Let the unconscious do its work.
Research can become Resistance. We want to work, not prepare to work.
Some years ago I had lunch at Joe Allen’s in Manhattan with my mentor (though he would cringe at that word), the writer and documentary maker Norm Stahl. He was making some notes on a pad of yellow, legal-size foolscap paper. He told me something that has saved my bacon more times than I can count: Steve, God made a single sheet of yellow foolscap exactly the right length to hold the outline of an entire novel.
What did Norm mean by that? He meant don’t overthink. Don’t overprepare. Don’t let research become Resistance. Don’t spend six months compiling a thousand-page tome detailing the emotional matrix and family history of every character in your book. Outline it fast. Now. On instinct. Discipline yourself to boil down your story/new business/philanthropic enterprise to a single page.
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield