If you use Word to write your documents, like most of the free world, Shift F5 is the best little trick ever.
I used to put symbol markers in my long writing projects. At the end of each session, I’d slip in an asterisk so I could search for it when I revisited the piece to find where I left off. But when I started to use asterisks to denote breaks in time, that got confusing. I finally settled on a percent sign, which I would never use in regular text and was easy to find. This worked great, except I’d forget to delete it, and have a sentence like, “She turned off the light and shut the door.%”
So I may be the last person on the planet to discover Shift F5, but I’ll relate this news just in case you also live in a cave. Hold down these two little keys when you first open your Word document, and you will be magically spirited to the exact spot you were working on when you left off. No hidden symbols! No searching for your last entry (and invariably getting caught up reading old stuff when you should be WRITING).
Shift F5 has made this book just a little bit easier for me to work on. And it’s got me to thinking about all the things–large and small–that we struggle against as we try to squeeze in some kind of writing every day. To be able to effortlessly skim past what’s been done before and start fresh where we left off is not only convenient, it’s kinda’ breathtaking.
Because, Jay Gatsby aside, it really may not be such a hot idea to relive the past, getting lost along the way.
Better to look ahead to the next great thing. That won’t happen if you can’t get past your beginning pages.
So I’m going to do my 20 minutes (or more!) now. And see if I can Shift F5 my way to accomplishing something.
What keeps your writing moving forward?
(P.S. So psyched to have a shot of Robert Redford in a post! Didn’t see that one coming.)