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There are a couple of general ways that you can use start dates.

One is to only use them for hiding actions and projects until a future date, with everything else active. With this approach, you're saying that you are unable or unwilling to work on this item until after the start date arrives, but there isn't necessarily any expectation that you will immediately work on it when the item becomes available.

Another approach is to use them to schedule your work. Everything (or most everything) has a start date, and when that start date arrives, you'll start working the items. I call this the prescriptive approach.

I'm personally not a big fan of the prescriptive approach; to me, it just means a lot of fooling around setting and changing start dates instead of getting work done. I have a huge backlog of tasks which are always available (subject to being in the right context, of course), so putting start dates on them doesn't make much sense unless I'm going to make a conscious choice to ignore them for now. I will occasionally use start dates as a scheduling tool akin to Things' Today list; I'll sometimes put a start date of today on items which I plan to work that aren't otherwise in my Forecast view (which shows items which are either due today or starting today or both).

If you are running in a "start dates for everything!" model, as it appears, then I agree with Lizard's suggestion of just using a sequential project without start dates. Finish a section, the next one pops up automatically. You might want a start date on each piece is to spread the work out a bit (maybe you want to read a chapter every day, but not more; there a start date on each chapter's task would be helpful), but otherwise it shouldn't be necessary.