Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventure
“I always start the Mighty Muddy Dash in my tutu.”
Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

As I enter the final wrap-up stage of Relatively Risky, the first book in my The Big Uneasy series—pause here to do my end zone celebration—I now face another start line. Yes, I know I mixed my sports up. How’s this? I’m back to the scrimmage line. You would think that characters and plot would not line up against you. You’re telling their story, after all. But characters can be surprisingly bitter, even the good ones.
Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventureWhen I started my grand adventure in becoming a world famous author, I launched into my first project with enormous enthusiasm. I donned my virtual tutu and twirled with excitement (inside my own head. I try not to torture real people in my life.). But after thirteen novels, three non-fiction projects, twelve (?) short stories and what feels like a million blogs my excitement about starting is tempered by knowing what it takes to finish.

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventure
“We did it! We did it!”
Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

I have two daughters who are runners. I’ve watched them work at it, hurt from it, and run through rain, sleet and snow. I have enormous admiration for them both. I’ve also learned a lot from them.

Whether you are starting a race, a book, or a new project of any kind, you need to:

  1. Prepare. Running and writing require training. Find out what you need to know and then do it. This is also a good time to assemble a support group. I’ve noticed both girls run better when they have support on the ground. Good prep and good support helps you generate the excitement you need to…
  2. Show up. Whether you show up for the race, at the computer, or your chosen project there is no starting until you get there. If you’re racing, you need to check in, get that bib. If you’re writing, open the program and put that blank page on the screen. Get to where you need to be for your thing. Once you’re there, it just makes sense to…
  3. Start. I would imagine the peer pressure to start a physical race is pretty intense. You’re there. You’re wearing the bib. People see you either run or not run. The blank page is kind of indifferent. Many projects are like that. We’re alone with it. There is no audience to clap and cheer, but if you’ve done your prep, then you have peeps on board, and can tap into their support to get started. Because no one likes to admit to the peeps you didn’t do it. You should also…
  4. Cheer yourself on. Too often people focus on what they did wrong, on what they didn’t get done, rather than acknowledging that they did something. I find it helps to set some small, quantifiable goals with small, specific rewards. They can carry you to the point where the act of doing becomes the reward. You clock those miles. The blank page starts to fill up. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Movement is all that is required for starting.

I found this excellent post on how to build in good habits from one of my favorite blogs, Copywriter. There are some additional productivity articles and I loved: You Had One Job…LOL And for my writing friends, here’s a great blog/book on boosting your word count with great prep work by Rachel Aaron.

Of course, I know that starting is not finishing. So next Monday we’ll talk about sagging middles. There might be a girdle analogy. That’s either a warning or a promise.

So, please share your starting thoughts? Feelings? Hate? Love? Your tips for getting movement? All comments are entered into my monthly drawing for $10 AnaBanana gift card. Winner is announced in the first blog post of the new month

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, Project Enterprise

Perilously yours,


Pauline Baird Jones is thrilled to be finishing her 13th novel and returning to her romantic suspense roots. Relatively Risky will release in March, 2013. It features a brooding hero who is afraid of kids, a quirky heroine who attracts kids, and New Orleans (which is weird and wonderful!). There are also lots of bad guys. And some kids. But not a lot. One can only torture a hero so far before he bolts.

4 Tips to Effective Starting

6 thoughts on “4 Tips to Effective Starting

  • March 4, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Great analogy between writing and running. Both sound easy in theory, both are much harder in practice.

    • March 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      Writing a novel is like running a marathon, IMHO. Except I don’t have to take an ice bath after I finish a novel. Now, drown myself in chocolate… LOL!

  • March 4, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Great post! I believe that each of these steps are critical in getting things started and trust me, I’m good at starting things. Still working on the finishing. 🙂

    • March 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      If I can get past my sagging middle blog post, will do one on finishing. LOL I have many false starts in my past. And I thought, once I finished my first novel, that I had finishing figured out. Oh well, stayed tuned to my finishing post for more on that. LOL

  • March 4, 2013 at 3:10 am

    For me, I find that the “Prepare” step is the most critical. I have to do considerable thinking & planning about what I intend to write or the “stare at the blank screen” part can go infinite on me. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    • March 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      I read this great blog post about preparing to write. I need to track down the link and add it to the post, because it was awesome. I ended up buying her NF book because of the blog post. Hmmm, it’s on my kindle. Okay, here it is: Really worth a look. 🙂

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