The more important a project is to us, the harder it can be to start and continue--and take it all the way to publication. The more we care, the more we fret.  When we attempt to take our writing to the next level with a more ambitious project such as a complete novel or nonfiction book, a change-the-world manifesto, or even essays or stories that are intellectually or emotionally more rigorous--it's easy to get lost in the complexity of all we want to say and accomplish. What I tell myself over and over is, Just begin! Here are 7 strategies that can help you get--and keep--your writing sea legs and create work you’re proud of. 1. Practice Writing. Find one pinky fingernail bit of your idea, one corner where you can sit at your screen or with a yellow pad and write out several paragraphs, pages, or a whole thread of an idea. Develop small chunks of writing. Getting even a few pages of a chapter opening, one section of a topic, or a single scene drafted can be a huge boost. For non-fiction (including memoir) you can develop starter pages with bullet lists of information you want to fill in. For fiction you can plot out a particular bit of action that can be woven into a seamless whole over the course of writing and rewriting process. When you make your idea concrete, it becomes easier to look at your work as a "project" and not as "you." Believe me, just push forward.

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