As I’m behind the curve on this whole “I want to be a writer” thing, I have just recently got around to reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is even contemplating doing any sort of writing (yes, blogging counts, too). Anyway, my favorite part of the book thus far is where she discusses the one inch picture frame.
Let me explain.
In one particular chapter, she describes the neuroses that follow most writers, as well as how overcome we can get with our ideas, leaving us paralyzed and unable to start writing even one small word. To combat this, she keeps a one inch picture frame on her desk. When she gets stuck, she looks at it and thinks about writing just enough to fill the space in that frame. It makes the task less daunting and before she knows it, the words start flowing enough to quiet the crazy talk.
Clearly, I love idea. I love it for its simplicity, its genius, its practicality and its application to so many other areas. Especially money.
Like writing, the thought of getting your finances together is overwhelming. You know there are so many places to start and figuring out which part makes for the best beginning fills you with anxiety, dread, fear and self-doubt. There are even the little voices that tell you things like “why bother? You’ll always live paycheck to paycheck” and “debt is just a part of life”. Not exactly productive thoughts (which, incidentally, is what I experience when I start to write). And these thoughts and feelings do exactly what they intend to– they prevent you from doing anything, and you remain stuck.
Stuck sucks. No one likes to be stuck. It’s a terrible place to be. And being stuck only plays into your fears and anxiety that nothing will ever be different. The next time that happens to you, think of the one inch frame. Think of one thing you can do, just one, that will get you started. If you’re not sure of what you can do to start, here are a few ideas:
- Create a budget.
- List your debts.
- Read a finance blog or newspaper article.
- Take out a personal finance book from the library.
- Balance your checkbook.
- Remove your credit card from your wallet.
- Open a savings account.
- Transfer money into an existing savings account.
- Analyze your paycheck.
- Start a spending journal.
Remember, whatever you choose to do doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be done. Because once you get over that hurdle of unsticking yourself, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the rest falls into place.
One more thought: don’t let the negative thoughts consume you. That’s what they want. They want you to become so insecure and negative and feel like a failure that you never get anywhere other than where you are. Don’t let that happen. You can conquer your money, debt, bad habits, writer’s block or whatever else is plaguing you.
How can I be so sure? I’m proof.