Often the hardest part of making progress on a project is… getting started. Or re-started after a break. When you sit down to start a writing session, you’re facing a blank page. When you set up your easel to paint, you face a blank canvas. When you start a planning effort, it’s a blank calendar. When you’re cleaning the garage, it’s the opposite: complete overwhelm.
Whatever type of project you’re working on, getting yourself going on each session can be a challenge.
One trick for getting past this is to always determine what the next step is before ending a session.
Ernest Hemingway said:
The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day… you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day.
It’s a great tip for getting past writer’s block. When you finish a session, your last step should be to make a note of what your first step will be in your next session. If you’re writing fiction, note what will happen next. Even for non-fiction writing, figure out what your next step is. Do you need to research something? Go back to your outline? Fill in more detail in your last section?
Doing this will prevent spending the beginning of each writing session remembering where you were. A note about the next step builds a bridge into the next session, making it easier to get back into the flow.
This technique works for other types of projects too. Always end one work session knowing what the next step will be. Jotting down a few notes or ideas plants a seed to get you re-started. It builds that bridge.
If you don’t know what the next step is, then that step is simply to determine the next step. This may happen with a new project or when you were forced to break without time to determine the next step.
Building bridges between work sessions takes the struggle out of getting started.
Need a place to keep notes on your project steps? Try Personal Knowbase.