I’m great at starting things. House builds, paintings, purging my bedroom, writing projects, books, bullet list journals...
Finishing? Doesn’t come so naturally for me. Somewhere around the middle of the process things start to get hard and, to be honest, kinda boring. The shine dulls.
I did this for TEN years with my writing. I started about seven different manuscripts and completed most of them to about 75%. I wanted to write. I wanted to see my books published. The sticking point was I had to finish them first.
A wise writer friend of mine Elizabeth Boyle said, “you learn more in finishing the last 10% of a book than you do in the other 90%.” Crickey - is this true or what? (It is).
Now I have published six books and am soon releasing my seventh. So how did I suddenly go from being a started to a starter AND a finisher? Short answer is I got diagnosed with a terminal disease. Nothing lights a fire under one’s butt with quite the same panache. Trust me.
But how can you become a finisher without the whole terminal disease part? I think I can help. Here are my tips:
1) Pick ONE thing you want to finish. A creative project? A life project? An emotional project? If you put pressure on yourself to finish everything you’re going to fail. Just pick one thing.
2) Once you have that thing, figure out a plan for finishing it - Break the work into reasonable increments and most importantly make a commitment to yourself to NOT jump to another project until you finish this thing.
3) Expect it to be hard and feel gross. Resistance is real folks, but it helps if we can anticipate it and fully expect the finishing part to feel unnatural and difficult and just YUCK. The key is to recognize you have to experience the yuck in order to get through it and reach The End.
4) Pick an enticing reward for yourself when you’re done. I do this with every book - usually it’s a pair of shoes I’ve been coveting, The key is the delayed satisfaction of something you truly want. Post a photo of it somewhere visible to keep you slogging when the going gets tough.
5) Remember that you’re gonna die. I know this sounds harsh, but being alive is a terminal condition for all of us. Trust me, when you face the end of your life (I’ve been there) you’re going to feel unhappy that you didn’t go out and create those things or change those things or do those things you dreamed of. Whenever your motivation wanes, remind yourself that you too are heading to the terminal on this bus of life.
Bonne Chance to all you newbie finishers! Let me know how it goes.