Start Where You Are

Another frustrating but productive week in my writing life. In addition to revising Chapters 1-3 of my manuscript—for what seems like the 500th time—I began a web design class. My homework for this week: design my site’s homepage layout. Please understand that I am as spatially challenged as I am mathematically challenged. I can’t choose the correct size sauce pan to cook in or the correct size container to fit left-over food. I have no concept of visual space unless I’m working with word layout on the page. 

I sit at my desk frustrated with the task of sketching the format of the webpage on blank paper. I stare out the window, then turn my attention to the items on the wall beside my desk, and finally back to my computer. I spot a quote by Arthur Ashe, the late great tennis star, taped to the narrow black frame of my computer screen. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.  How much more simply can a person live than by Ashe’s words? 

Start where you are. I’m on Goal # 1 in designing a website. I’m at the beginning of a learning experience, the bottom of the learning curve, but all set to climb the long slope to the apex. That’s not a bad place because I’m ready to learn. Ready for an adventure! 

Use what you have. I have two qualified instructors who are experts in information technology, web design, and teaching. They have years of experience in all three: success in managing electronic information, designing and managing websites, and teaching others to design and manage their own websites. I believe if I follow their instructions, I too will be successful in getting a website from concept to finished product—a live website. 

Do what you can. I can listen, learn, practice, and apply my knowledge. Sometimes difficult to do, but I’m determined to learn this, so today, I can 1) view websites I enjoy visiting, 2) choose one to use as a model, 3) layout my page grid, and 4) plan the content. I can do this! Now that I’ve broken the task down into small pieces, the process of designing my homepage layout doesn’t seem complicated. At the end of three weeks, I’ll post a link to the completed website for you to view. 

Any new task can be daunting, especially one for which you have no time or experience. Taking apart a large or complicated task, working with one small piece at a time, and seeking help when needed make the task manageable. 

This week I encourage you to select a task you want to undertake but have put off for whatever reason, whether it’s cleaning out a closet, rotating your tires, or beginning a writing project—or designing a website. Break down the process into small tasks, and complete each task independently. Complete the process and experience a sense of accomplishment. Start where you are and work your way to what you want—a completed task. Discover what you can do!

Take the challenge—Write Now!

About Susan Harvey

I'm a humor writer and a newly retired college English instructor. I enjoy reading and writing yet don't take time to do what I really love--writing. I began writing a mystery-romance novel three years ago. Now that I'm retired, I will make time to write with the goal of finishing my novel.
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