Whenever you’re about to embark on a large project—be it writing a novel, redesigning a website, or painting a masterpiece—finding a place to begin can cause anxiety that prevents you from moving forward.
While some planning is necessary before beginning a project, too much planning can allow doubts and second thoughts to cloud your vision. If you find yourself having trouble writing the first sentence or drawing the first line, skip that step. The best place to start is often not at the beginning.
Don’t be afraid to jump right into the middle of a project and allow yourself to work both ways at once. If you’re staring at a blank piece of paper, an empty canvas, or a white screen, you need to find a place where you already know what’s going to happen. Attack it from that angle and let the rest follow.
I’m most familiar with this method in writing. Too often, beginning writers will spend most of their time crafting a clever opening and will rush through the rest of the story in order to finish. In many cases, the opening is the part that needs to be cut anyway, while the rest of the writing suffers from not enough attention. The story often begins later than you think it does.
I’ve also experienced this with a website redesign where the designer was stuck on the placement of the logo. It turns out that she didn’t like the way the logo looked on screen (it was designed for print) and was having trouble getting past that point. I shifted the conversation to a different aspect of the site, and we were able to move forward.
The beginning of a creative project is the most exciting and the most nerve wracking. Don’t place too much emphasis on the beginning because it highlights the seemingly far away ending. Jump into the middle of your project and break out of the linear mode of thinking.
Author Bio: Britt Parrott is the communications manager for an engineering firm in Portland, Oregon, by day and a screenwriter by night. He posts most of his nonsense at Perhapses.