Too Late to Turn Back Now

Road sign reads "Dead End"There’s a point in every art project (or blog post or essay or short story or novel or [fill in with your favorite creative endeavor]) when, for lack of a better word, I lose my nerve.

I start strong, generating ideas, figuring out what I need to do, and actually working on my first draft. When things are really going well, I’m in a flow state and I lose all track of time. Then something happens. I have to stop to do another task, or it’s late and I need to go to bed. Of necessity I have to leave the flow state for a while. So far, so good. The problem comes when I have to go back to the project.

Suddenly the project just seems, well, stupid. Like a giant waste of time. My mind says:

C’mon, nobody is going to read/look at/experience this project. Really you’re using up materials that would be better spent on something else. Might as well toss this project in the trash. It’s lucky that you saw how bad it is now. Imagine if you had put that out into the world.

At this point (and this has happened dozens of times), I either obey the impulse to trash what I’ve done, or I fight through the Resistance (because that’s what this is) and try to get back to creating. Sometimes I’m successful, and sometimes not.

The funny thing is, I realized only recently that this happens on every single project that I do. And yet every single time, I’ve been fooled. I waste time considering whether it’s a worthwhile project. Resistance happens whether or not it’s a good project. It’s like the sun coming up. I can count on it to happen sooner or later. But now I know I can ignore it. I just tell myself, it’s too late to turn back now. And I finish what I started.

Photo Credit

Photo Untitled by Tau Zero via flickr and licensed under CC 2.0

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