Sunday, April 13, 2008

Start from the Middle!

Question: Why do so many writers at work often say, “I have a hard time getting started, but once I get going, I’m OK”?

Answer: Because the hardest part is setting the tone in the beginning of the document. That opening establishes how you will come across to your reader: deferential or arrogant, formal or informal, technical or general—not always an easy choice to make and even harder to render.

Then just skip the opening and start your draft with the second paragraph, which is the stuff of your job. You’ll likely have no trouble in that area if you know what you’re reporting about or proposing. Once you get on a roll, you can always see how your message closes, which usually will give you an insight into how you should begin.

Trying this technique has solved writer’s block for many participants in my writing workshops—so it’s worth a try the next time you’re just sitting there pulling the hairs out of your head. Get those fingers moving!