I'm a big believer of jumping in the deep end when facing the unknown. I have sometimes researched big decisions ahead of time, but often you don't know what you don't know until you dive in.
When I look at my past career changes, education, and the skills I've learned for my job, I started first and then figured out what I needed to learn. I found tutorials or community members that had experience to help me. Because I had already started, my questions were specific and concrete enough that I could move forward to the next step.
I've jumped into National Novel Writing Month the exact same way. I decided to join a week before. I did no writing ahead of time, but I did a lot of daydreaming, and I had an tangential, 2-page scribble in a notebook that I kept as inspiration. The blinking cursor on November 1st was extremely intimidating. I was a ball of elation and panic all at once.
Now it's been 20 days, and I have over 30,000 words. I will probably never start a writing project without pre-planning again, now that I know what I know.
I have a whole word document full of things I need to figure out, including very basic things like characters' names and where they're from. Some of it's falling into place, and some of it needs major work.
I'm starting to think (panic) about all the things I don't know for the next step, like how to rework this messy first draft into something better, how to find an audience for it, how to market my book and myself.
I'm thankful for a community of writers that I can turn to for guidance or encouragement (shout out to the brilliant Cattalaya @ https://www.cattaleyagiraldoauthor.com/, who has talked me down a few times).
And above all, I'm thankful that I just dove in and started. I've learned so much already and it's only been 20 days.