Have you ever thought of beginning with the middle in mind? Sounds weird, right? But it might work for you.
What if you have a big task and keep procrastinating and putting it off? It can feel a bit disheartening, can’t it?
What if, instead, you skipped to the middle?
I know that feels confusing, right?
Here’s the plan for getting your ideas out
- Name it. This could be a title of an article you want to write or the title of a chapter. You can change it later – I often do
- Add a few subheadings. These could be a series of post-it notes that form a rough outline
- Add a bit of content to kick-start it. I like to write – this chapter is about if I am working on a book
- Skip to the end and give it an outcome, which you can also change
- Come to the middle and explore how you would get to the end and back to the beginning. Think of steps in a plot.
Often if you start at the beginning, you create a stiffness because this is how it is meant to start. If you start at the end, which is conventional wisdom, you are forcing yourself to a conclusion. Though having an end vision and goal can be a good thing.
But if you put on an explorer’s hat and asked lots of what if I did this or did that, you may discover you have created something far more interesting.
Does it still sound confusing?
Put your title into the middle of a mind map and explore ideas, then pick something to write about that is neither at the beginning nor the end. Then ask if this is the middle, how does it start, and what ideas and steps (content) will take me to the end?
One of the reasons I love post-it notes is that you can randomly brainstorm an idea and keep moving things around. When I do this, I always start with a title and an outcome and give myself permission to change things the more I observe and reflect on my ideas.
Think about it: when you write a book or report, you always write the introduction last.
What’s wrong with working on different parts at different times? Pick something that resonates and work on that. You’ll find you have the energy and enthusiasm to get on with it. I love the power of the chunk.
At some point, come back to the beginning, dig out those post-it notes and realign what you are working on so that, once again, it makes sense. This is something else that I do. As a prolific writer and creative, I lose myself in words and then need to stop, reflect and make sense of it all again. It works for me and may work for you too.
And what if you love the middle so much that it becomes the beginning? I am sure there is a way that you could realign your content and ideas around that.
The key is to play with your ideas, start somewhere, and if you are writing the right thing or planning the right thing, it will work out; if not, bin it and find the right idea to work on.
Need some help with brainstorming or need a sounding board, get yourself a power hour and let’s explore…