Much has been written in these pages about the modern tendency to start sentences with 'so'. It's been called an ‘irritating adornment’ portentously announcing the arrival of a new thought but adding nothing to its expression.
I often find myself opening sentences with ‘so’ and I feel entirely relaxed about it.
‘So’ has a long history. Shakespeare’s Duke of Gloucester may not have said: ‘So, now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York’ but his Tarquin (in The Rape of Lucrece) had no such linguistic scruples: ‘“So, so”, quoth he, “these lets attend the time, Like little frosts that sometime threat the spring…”’.
And while it may add little to the meaning of sentences, ‘so’ still plays a role.