Oh, the enticement of new, shiny, exciting ideas! Should it matter if we’re right in the boring middle of a work-in-progress? Beware, Creatives! Starting a new project is easy, but finishing one is better. But, you say, it will take too much time to get my work perfect enough to release into the wild. You’ve heard the phrase, “Done is better than perfect?” I wholeheartedly agree. Just a few reasons why:
In an increasingly scattered, short-attention-spanned society, focus is that golden virtue that will make you a content creating beast. Heck, even Leonardo DaVinci lost focus and left gajillions of projects unfinished. Don’t do that to your fans. Like any other muscle, when you practice using focus, it will get stronger. Lots of people start books, paintings, video series, poems, etc. Be the one who finishes!
There are certain themes that pop up over and over in my projects. (Like addiction. I suppose that’s because my setting is the Mid-Ohio Valley?) I know when that happens, I need to think and process and wrestle with those themes some more because I just don’t understand them well enough. Working with an idea woven through your project will help you meditate on it, start to finish. Don’t leave that idea hanging in the middle of an unfinished WIP! Get it out, get it down, walk alongside it, then leave it there at the ending. You may pick it up again in another project, but at least you put it to bed for a while in the ol’ subconscious.
Let’s be honest, we all want to share our work, right? I mean, there’s joy in the creation itself, but there’s meaning when we give the work its wings and let it loose. Hopefully it finds an audience who can relate and enjoy it. Maybe it will find a troll or two. Even so, you know you’ve struck a nerve. Finish that project so you can send it out to live a life apart from you. That’s one of the most fascinating parts of creative work–people giving surprising feedback.
If you allow unlimited time to polish a project, you’ll use it. Set a deadline to finish and keep it. I know, it’s a self-imposed deadline, and those can be wobbly. So raise the stakes by telling people. Get your most merciless friend to post a sign in your front yard announcing you’ve missed your deadline if you’re late. Set up consequences. Do whatever you have to do to finish your current work, because done is better than perfect!
Have you ever announced your intentions to finish a project just to have accountability? Are you struggling to finish your WIP now? Check out the freebie below to help you refocus!!