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Can You Start in the Middle?

The idea of starting a project in the middle may feel unconventional, and it’s possible. The thought of taking a bite out of the side of a slice of pizza may also sound strange, and it's also possible.

First, I want to acknowledge that several things do need to be started from the beginning. Second, if the thought is always that a project has to be started from the beginning and worked straight through to the end, this can cause a lot of frustration, avoidance and procrastination. 

Might it be possible to start in the middle? The middle doesn’t have to be defined, which may relieve some of the pressure. Consider the process of writing a research paper or a proposal. Do you have to stare at the screen with the cursor flashing and taunting you until you craft the perfect opening line or topic sentence? Maybe not. How would it feel to start by brainstorming ideas or using an outline as a guide, or maybe even diving right into writing the section you feel most confident about? Ask yourself what seems like the easiest place to start and then consider starting there.

Most of my newsletters and blog posts get written this way. An idea pops into my head and I don’t quite know where to go with it, so I start by writing the idea down. After that, I go back and write the beginning and end, sometimes not in that order. I build from the middle outwards in different directions until it is complete. It’s actually an amazing process. I get to watch something take shape and form (often in a non-linear way) while letting go of control of the process. 

  • Is there a project you’ve felt stuck on that might have a starting point somewhere in the “middle?”

  • At what place in that project could you start that feels easy and accessible?

P.S. If you eat your slice of pizza sideways, let me know. I always enjoy connecting with out of the box thinkers!

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