In a previous post I mentioned how I started writing as a hobby. I did this because I felt that I wanted to explore my creative side. Something that prompted me to do this was the trail of unfinished projects I have left in my wake. I would start a project (usually an app of some sort) and I would just fizzle out halfway through. In a way my new hobby was a fresh start, a blank slate.
One of the things I do when I get into anything is I consume a lot of “how to” information about that subject. In my research, there was the recurring issue of writer’s block and how it’s not a real thing. Digging deeper, I found that successful writers had a very strict schedule and daily writing goals. I found this to be very helpful and it echoes something I read in The Clean Coder by Robert C Martin. He suggests starting your day by doing a Code Kata. This is something I do daily since reading the book a few months back.
In the past year or so, I have become aware that there are many assumptions that I make all of the time. One of these assumptions is that when you start a project, you HAVE to start at the beginning. The idea of having to start a project from its logical beginning was deeply ingrained in me and it wasn’t until I started reading about the creative writing process did I have this assumption challenged. This is the most powerful takeaway from what I read:
START WITH THE PART THAT IS THE MOST ENJOYABLE PART FOR YOU TO WORK ON!
Simply put, if you’re working on a cool new photo-sharing iPhone app, don’t start with the login screen or the about screen. Start with the best part of the app…SHARING THE PHOTOS! This may seem obvious to some, but this was profound to me. My workflow in this example would be to start drawing the screens from the beginning starting with the login screen. Then I would move on to the “main” screen which might be a dashboard or user profile of some sort. By the time I got to the fun part, I was too drained and didn’t have any enthusiasm for the project anymore.
I have heard that some people work on things in a linear fashion, but my hard drive full of unfinished apps and broken dreams definitely proves that I am not one of those people.
My advice if you’re someone like me and will lose interest in something easily? Start with the most fun part first! That is THE way to make sure you finish a project.