The One Thing You Need to Finish Projects

Posted by on June 23, 2016

McKella Sawyer

So, you’re a highly creative person.

As a fellow highly creative person, we probably have something in common.

We’re always bursting with ideas, plans, big dreams, and projects that we can’t wait to start. We start with all the enthusiasm of a racehorse out of the gate…but we never finish the race. We start, get stuck, and our project lies around half-finished weeks, months, or even years.

How many books have you started? How many unfinished art or craft projects do you have lying around? How many businesses and adventures are sitting in your head, half-planned and barely started? How long is your bucket list?

Many creatives have a bad case of what I call “hummingbird brain”, where we’re constantly flitting around from one idea to the next. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing! This constant flow of ideas and inspiration is our superpower.

But we don’t get to share that superpower unless we actually finish something once in awhile, ya know?

Case in point: In 2009, I started a novel.

From 2010-2015, I worked on that novel infrequently. I thought about it every once in awhile, maybe writing a few pages every other month or so, but mostly it sat in my computer and in the back of my mind, nagging at me to finish it even though I had a bazillion other things going on that also screamed for my attention.

Now, I’m in the final editing stages and I hope to start sending that baby around to agents later this year.

So how did I go from procrastinating, stuck, and planning to finish “someday” to working steadily and making actual progress?

One thing:

Accountability.

Or as I prefer to call it, support. (Because accountability is kind of a scary word, maybe something you’d expect to hear when you’re in trouble.)

One of my college friends published a novel of her own, and I went to her book signing to grab a copy and say hello. I told her my novel (which she’d workshopped with me in college) was still in “someday” mode and I was completely overwhelmed and stuck.

So she invited me to join her writer’s group. We meet every week evening on Skype at 7 o’clock, and every single week we send out a chapter or two for the others to read and critique.

I also enlisted my BFF to help. I crunched the rest of my draft. As soon as I finished a chapter, I’d send it to her, errors and all, to read. If I didn’t hit my chapter quota for the week, she’d gently remind me to get my butt in gear and start writing.

There’s no way I would have finished my draft (or edits) without these two vital elements to my support system.

This seems to be the truth with just about anything. Want to start a workout program? Get a buddy or a dog that will hold you to it. Planning to build up your savings account? Tell someone about your goal. Have plans for your business this week? Get an online mastermind to hold you to it.

We might let ourselves down when it comes to our goals, because it’s just little old us. If we tell someone else, if someone else expects us to do something, we’re a whole lot more likely to do it because we don’t want to disappoint them.

If you’ve got a project on indefinite hold that you want to get done, get a support system! Tell a friend or a family member and give them permission to hound you at the end of the week if you haven’t hit your goal. There are oodles of Facebook groups for anything you want, from writing to business support to art to knitting to sharing money tips.

Side note: Not every project needs to be finished, but the ones that are REALLY important to you, like my novel is to me, need to get done. If you keep thinking about it, if you mentally kick yourself every time you see it, if on New Years Eve you sip your champagne and think “I really need to finish that,” then it needs to get finished.

Get yourself some support and get that baby done!

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