with 4 medium or large paper clips (known as trombones elsewhere) you can make re-connecting the end links of your chain easier.
my solution is NOT an original thought i am sure, but haven't seen it before..
a) daisy chain (pun!) the 4 clips together.
b) bend the ends of the end clips like a 'c'.
c) count 7 links back from the ends of the chain and hook the bent ends of the clips
over the 7th links. doesn't have to be 7, just what you feel comfortable with.
d) if you bent them right the chain will stay in place while you re-connect the master
link, or cut the chain. almost like having someone hold the chain for you!
e) you can put the clips on BEFORE you do the chain work and not have to re-run the
chain around the gears.
a long shoelace might work, too. just don't use a granny knot!
i got this idea from topeak. they have a chain tool that comes with a stainless chain
hook. i tried to buy just the hook and they said no. boohoo.