No matter what I’m working on — my story, a letter to a friend, or an important email for work — my quick start is Focused Freeform Jotting or FFJ. It’s a great tool because getting something down on paper — some clay on the wheel to mold and shape — is usually the hardest part.

I use the same kind of pen and pad or notebook because the familiarity eases me into action. Small things like this make a difference and tip the scale in favor of writing instead of procrastinating. I write a focusing question at the top of the page, set a timer for 3-5 minutes, and start jotting. In just a few minutes I have something down on paper and am no longer staring at a blank page.