There they are – bulging in the file cabinet, collecting dust: your old writing projects. Some are complete, but most are 80% finished.
When you look at them, you feel a mix of emotions:
- Despair that you never finished that great story
- Hope that someday you might finish that great story
- Excitement – when you revisit the idea, you really like it. There’s some good writing in there.
- Overwhelm – where do you start?
You close the drawer and try to forget about these half-bakeds. You want to write new things but after seeing this logjam, you lose confidence that you can ever complete something.
It’s one of the most difficult decisions to make – revive a project or abandon it. Use my coaching questions to help discern whether the project(s) can be resumed or are ready to be dropped.
1. Where did the impulse for this project come from? Was this your idea or someone else’s?
2. What is your motivation now? What is important about completing this project? Get clear about what you expect completion of this project to do for your life.
3. How has the project changed? Is this piece still in the same genre? Has the focus of the work changed?
4. How have you changed since you began this project? Take a look at your circumstances. Assess your maturity, your commitment, and your other obligations. Is there still room for this project?
5. What tools or skills do you need to finish? Assess required time, space, and resources to get a realistic picture of what you need to complete the work. Locate the support, books, and other reference materials that will help you to complete the piece.
6. What are your strengths? Where else in your life have you stayed with a project even when you didn’t know you could? Take stock of your completion history and know that you can complete a project.
7. What would it feel like to set this project aside? Check in to see if you are ready to let this project go. Notice if you feel regret, remorse, or relief when you consider shelving this project.
8. What does your gut say? Respect yourself. Do what you need to do to feel that you are doing the right thing for you, right now. Trust your instincts to guide you in making decisions that you can live with.
Incomplete projects may be costing you more than you think. Lack of confidence, inability to focus, fear of starting new projects can all be caused by these partial projects that are clogging the queue.
List your unfinished projects and use these questions for each of them. Do the work or let go, and open yourself to new creative energy in your life.