The Stephen Colbert Guide to Building Daily Momentum

How to hit the ground running

Colbert’s writing staff works through the night.

His team scours the mainstream media landscape over the course of the evening, always looking at what shadow those stories are casting, so he can then distort the news in his own unique comedic way. That way, every morning when he commutes to the office, he has a digest of the most important information he needs to know to do his job effectively.

Colbert explained that this ritual allows his workday to be preambled, so to speak, so he can hit the ground running when he walks in the door. It’s a brilliant way to build momentum in the early part of your workday. In fact, writers have been using this technique for years.

Hemingway famously stopped his day’s writing mid sentence. By letting his last thought sit incomplete until the next writing session, he found, it was easier to regain momentum a day later. Stop when you’re going good, he said, and you’ll never be stuck again.

I often preamble my day by transcribing book notes. Before going to bed, for example, I’ll gather all the ideas I wrote down that day and dump them into my idea inventory. That way, when I sit down to write the next morning, inspiration will be waiting for me.

Whatever it takes to leave yourself a rough edge.

It’s like the knitter who leaves a hint of yarn sticking out of her unfinished sweater so she knows where to pick it up the next day.

Give yourself something to jump into immediately. Leave a little bit of the work ordained, so that you afford yourself a little push before beginning your work.

How do you preamble your creative routine?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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