Just get started

The hardest thing to do is get started, each and every day. Manage that and the rest is easy.

Here’s what I do: don’t focus on how much you have to do. Don’t focus on how many hours or how much effort is ahead of you. In fact, don’t even plan to do that much. Instead, plan on only doing a little. You’ll find that once you’ve gotten started, it’s easy to keep going. If you want to.

I learned this trick when I was trying to get better at flossing. Instead of trying to floss every tooth every single night – which I never did – I focused on just flossing one tooth. Once I’ve flossed a single tooth, I was done. I can stop there with absolutely no guilt. Even better, I use pre-strung floss picks to make it even easier. It takes almost no time to do one tooth. How can I not have enough time for that?

Of course, I’ll often do a couple teeth, and occasionally I’ll go ahead and floss them all. (And I always alternate where I start, so all of them get done eventually.) Once you’ve gotten started, it’s easy to keep going if you so desire. It’s dreading having to do it all that keeps us from beginning.

Instead of focusing on writing 2,000 words or editing two whole scenes, I prefer to focus on getting started. Once I’ve managed that, I find it’s often easy to keep going, and what’s more, I enjoy it. It’s no longer a chore. Then I’ve already won, and I’m doing extra because I want to.

Try it out, whether it be with flossing or writing or anything else. Don’t plan to do too much, and focus on getting started. The rest will follow, if you want it to.

6 thoughts on “Just get started

  1. This is the precise reason why that weird writing thing in November doesn’t really work for me.

    • Actually, I agree (broadly). I’ve had people try to convince me that it’s a great idea, and I don’t disagree that it is…for some people. For me, writing is not the problem. I will do that. I can’t not do that. Getting a little pep in my step, yes, I could use that, but that’s why I give myself those challenges (and post them here). Generally though, I work better by setting aside time to write every day and just getting started, and the rest follows. Targets stifle me.

      Different things work for different people though, and I encourage everyone to do whatever they need to get started writing, drawing, creating, or whatever they do. The more of that in the world, the better.

  2. 45 minutes – Stilts Out Loud

  3. Willpower – Stilts Out Loud

  4. Plan for less, allow for more – Stilts Out Loud

  5. The fear of doing nothing – Stilts Out Loud

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