Just get started

August 31, 2013

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.

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.


  1. Reply


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

    1. Reply


      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. Reply

    45 minutes – Stilts Out Loud

    […] a followup to my post about getting started, specifically about […]

  3. Reply

    Willpower – Stilts Out Loud

    […] you won’t. Instead, work on making it easy. If you can establish habits that make it easy to get started, then you will. You won’t have to burn your limited willpower so much. You won’t get […]

  4. Reply

    Plan for less, allow for more – Stilts Out Loud

    […] you only try to do a couple of things, it’s much easier to get started. It’s less daunting than having a hundred smaller things to do. Just this one. Just these […]

  5. Reply

    The fear of doing nothing – Stilts Out Loud

    […] tell you that writers are inveterate procrastinators. Writing is a mentally taxing endeavor, and getting started is often the most difficult […]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *