Nora Ephron writes movies, articles, books and essays. If you haven't read her stuff, you've probably seen her movies, which include When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. Ephron can be the source of many writing inspirations and writing tips.
About writing leads, Ephron says:
"I don't write a word of the article until I have the lead. It just sets the whole tone - the whole point of view. I know exactly where I'm going as soon as I have the lead."
Joan Didion adds her two cents with this writing quotation:
"What's so hard about the first sentence is that you're stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you've laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone."
Writing tip: If writing your lead first works for you, then take Ephron and Didion's advice. If, however, you need to write the whole piece before you write your lead, then good on ya. Yo be a great writer, you have to do what feels natural.
These great writing quotations are from Shoptalk: Learning to Write With Writers by Donald Murray, which has hundreds of writing ideas, writing habits, and writing inspirations.