The Tricky Art of Finishing What You StartBy
This was in response to my suggestion of working on a few projects at once as you always have something else to respond to if you get stuck with the first thing you’re working on.
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
In my blog post Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, I talk about the fine art of finishing, and the typical problems that happen midway through almost any art or craft project, the most common of which is that it looks, uh, kind of terrible.
Or at least not the way you imagined when you started.
This is, however, TOTALLY NORMAL and the way of all long term relationships.
After the initial honeymoon is over and you’ve worked on your project for a while, you turn around to find it snoring on the couch with its mouth half open and a bag of chips slowly sliding off its belly.
Not quite what you imagined when you initially fell in love with your idea.
But hey, in sickness and in health right? For better and for worse.
You’ve got to stick with your idea even when it’s got bad breath and hasn’t showered in three days. This takes commitment and a certain leap of faith.
If you have a tendency to move on to the next romantic, good-looking idea in your brain when the going gets tough, just know that it, too, will soon will be snoring on the couch, slack-jawed and gassy.
But of course, you also have the opportunity to turn your frog back into the prince (or princess) of your dreams–and/or to open up to its own particular gorgeousness just the way it is. Even if it wasn’t what you first thought you wanted.
But the way you get there is by finishing.
You can read about it here.
Resistance in Disguise
But if you think you don’t finish things because you get bored or restless and just like to move on, I’d like you to consider that this really might be Resistance in Disguise.
Resistance is how we protect ourselves from taking risks.
So if you never finish anything, you don’t have to risk determining that it’s “bad” or that you’re “not talented” because it’s not done. Who knows how it might turn out. By not finishing, you protect yourself from your own mean rule.
But we have to trick ourselves to do that.
We conjure up clever reasons for stopping and we convince ourselves that they’re true.
We do it to protect ourselves from the mean pronouncements of our inner critic, or from feeling the “ick” of struggling or working past our comfort zone.
But the real, more helpful work might be to examine the rules you’re protecting yourself from. Is it true that if you make something “bad”, it means you’re not a real artist? Or aren’t talented?
I hope not, because I’ve made more bad art that I can shake a stick at. Which helped me make a lot of other work I love.
If you wouldn’t hold me to such an unforgiving, harsh standard, why are you so willing to do that to yourself?
Let me know what you think in the comments.