The other day, Neil Gaiman made a tweet that I've actually thought for a long time, but it's Neil Gaiman so of course he said it a thousand times better than I could:
It's true. That fear you feel when you're taking the first new step of something, anything, is paralyzing. "What if I'm not good?" "What if I fail?" "What if I can't?" In your mind, you know the answer is, "Then keep going." If you just try, you'll learn that you can, even if it's hard. It may not be good, you may fail a lot, but you'll learn. Keep trying, keep learning, and eventually, you'll stop falling flat. But first, it's gonna scare the crap out of you.
It's like walking through the middle of an endless barfight. You know if you step in there, you're gonna get hit, by fists if you're lucky, bottles and mugs if you're not. You know it's gonna hurt either way. You know in the worst case, you might not even make it through to the drink waiting on the other side. You can stand on the edges and study, watching for patterns to try and stop yourself getting hit, watching other people run the gauntlet, study the experts as they dance through the blows untouched, but study can never be as good a teacher as action.
You have to step in and start taking the punches. Maybe it won't be as bad as you expect, or maybe it'll be worse, but you're in it now. The first step is the hardest. Now you can run. Once you're on the other side, maybe you'll realize it wasn't so bad. You can do it again. You do. At the end, you'll realize you've become the dancer that others are studying. So go on. Write that book. Submit that query you've been starting and restarting. Take that trip. Ask that special someone out. Do that thing that's scaring you.
On a related note, I'll be starting up that video game streaming I discussed way back in Sept 2016. If you want to watch me make a complete idiot of myself playing classic games, I'll be live Wednesdays at 7 starting tomorrow at twitch.tv/MaxNChachi. And I am scared shitless, so I know I'm heading in the right direction. Come with me?