Anonymous said: When I have a big, looming task that I need to complete, often the hardest part is jUST STARTING. Like, even just opening up the Word document and typing that first sentence. Do you have any tips or mantras for taking those first baby steps toward getting something done?

Find something you believe in, and rabidly, carefully follow its thread. Start small and plan comprehensively. For example, I wrote my first book by drafting an outline, sending it to friends, getting feedback and encouragement, and building it slowly over the course of a few years.

Also, when handling large design projects, it takes a day or two of planning before any real work can start. It gives you confidence to set out timelines, create measurable goals, and chunk things up so things don’t feel so daunting. Rigorously scheduling creative work into your daily routine will ground you and give you the right mindset. And there’s a lot to be said for your setting.

This is a very large, complicated problem that a lot of people have tried to tackle in the past, but this is my own perspective. I’ve found the book Art & Fear to be very helpful for creative work, and I read it every couple of years or so. Others have suggested Making the Clackity Noise (and Merlin Mann’s podcast, Back to Work, provides a lot of additional information). No-distraction utilities like iA Writer and Freedom are also very helpful.

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