Recently, I was in the final lap of writing the curriculum for Write Your Travel Stories. I just needed to pull together the final lessons. Then one final polish to make sure it was all in place.
I had been making great weekly progress, with accountability from my Atelier members. But suddenly, with the end in sight, sitting down to do the work became difficult.
While spring’s glorious distractions didn’t help, I knew it was more than that. I was experiencing what awaits many of us in the final phase of a project.
I know very well how difficult the last bits are. For all the books, programs, and projects I have made and launched into the world, I have waded through the brambles in the final, painful phase. There’s something about the last 15% of a project that just feels so difficult.
Are you one of those people who can’t seem to finish your creative projects? Books, blog posts, art pieces…no matter what you try, the finish line remains an elusive land you can’t seem to access.
Why, why? Are you simply lazy, inept and perhaps stupid? I doubt it. Here are the main things I see that prevent us from completing our projects.
- We face the reality about the quality of the work. Is it good enough?
- We struggle with detail management – not my strongest suit and maybe not yours either.
- We get closer to hearing the opinions of others. How will our work be received?
- We’re forced to make final decisions. Making decisions can be a challenge for us; we have to commit for one last time. Doubts can peck at us when making these last choices.
- We don’t know how to let go of our identity as someone who doesn’t finish things.
Recognize yourself in any of this? I have heard countless people claim that they are not finishers. It becomes a sort of identity, and believing that we cannot finish things becomes another way to beat ourselves up.
What’s happening? The further into the creative process you go, the more restrictive the space feels, and the more you are required to deal with the emotional eddies that swirl under the surface of your creative life. Everything that quietly prevented us from creating now shouts loud and clear. It gets more and more painful to even think about your once-beloved project. Check out the video I made about this.
If only it were as simple as telling yourself to JUST DO IT! And wouldn’t it be great if our apps and hacks could get us across the finish line?! Yet there is no app yet that addresses what’s really going on under the surface that keeps us from completing.
You’re not a fool for feeling these things, and you’re certainly not alone. The work of creating calls us forth in deeply powerful and challenging ways. We often need to address our doubts and fears in order to get things done.
I hope this has helped to normalize the challenges you face at the end of a project.
What resonates with you? Do you struggle with finishing things?