Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Reaching for the Finish Line

I've long realized that I'm not a finisher. I start projects well. I have enthusiasm, ideas, and a general feeling that the end product can be pretty darn good. This holds true for writing projects, blog entries, home projects, hobbies, work,... you name it. But then the work gets underway, and my enthusiasm flags, and things don't work out quite as well as I had planned, and I have trouble finishing. Half-completed stories, plot outlines, and blog entries. Textbooks started but abandoned with a bookmark somewhere around the one-quarter mark. Professional papers stacking up on the desk. Et cetera.

I've thought about why I have this trait. Like a romance, the start of a project is certainly preferable to its end; the excitement and promise are there at the start and have long since disappeared when the last punctuation mark lands. More to the point, the start of a project is about possibilities, where no one can critique the result because it's still in a state of flux. Something finished, however, something released into the wild - well, that's fair game. Fear of being found out a fraud is a powerful deterrent.

I made the mistake of dating a revision of a story I was working on: November of last year. The darn thing was half-completed half a year ago. I finished the difficult part in a few days, but kept making excuses not to finish the last bit, until at last I opened the file and kept at it until I was done. Other pieces are substantially older. It's embarrassing.

While I'll never complete projects speedily, I'm going to make an effort to not let things languish so long. To the finish line!

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