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Stopping Points

I don't know about you, but it's really hard for me to start writing. Once I've started, I don't really procrastinate at all - I'll take breaks I don't need, get up and stare at the fridge for no reason, but I'm usually back at my computer in like 60 seconds or less.

Before I start, though? It can be agonizing. I can't start until I know exactly where I was, exactly what should come next. If I'm in the middle of writing, and finish a scene, I can go on to the next one no problem. Starting a new scene first thing, though? Somehow that's completely different.

That's why I've started ending my writing sessions in the middle of scenes, almost (but not quite) as a rule. I think it lowers the barrier of starting again the next day when you know exactly what you're doing. It's especially helpful if it's a very actiony-scene, one where I know exactly what's going on. I can sit down, finish the action, and then just keep rolling from there.

I don't think I'm alone in this struggle, because I've read a lot of tips that say "Force yourself to write at least one sentence a day," because they know that once you've started, it's way easier to keep going. You may only sit down to write a sentence, but it's a rare day where you'll stop there.

I've started trying to carry this principle over to other areas of my life - not, like, deliberately leaving tasks half-finished, but leaving tasks at a point where I know what to do next. I think my natural inclination in anything is to keep going until I don't know what to do next, and then stop there.

And that's not an awful approach, I'm sure it works great for people who can sleep on a problem and have an answer in the morning. But I'm not one of those people. I'm the sort of person who, unless I get really obsessive about something, once I move on to something else, I'm entirely focused on that something else; I don't keep problems ticking away in the back of my mind.