When Projects Take the Back Seat
How to pick them up again
Last month, I set a big goal: to publish a poetry collection by the end of this year. I began working with an editor to help me select and organize the pieces into theme.
The story of my relationship with my father as told in verse is not a rush job. Now that I look at my project somewhat objectively (why I can look at it objectively is a story for another time), I accept that it may take longer than my original due date.
What got in the way?
School. Plain and simple. Opening up a school year (in-person) in the time of COVID has really taken over much of my time, head-space, creativity, drive, and productivity. In a normal year, I would feel overwhelmed with my eternal to-do list. As we all know, this is no normal year.
Now that I feel somewhat in a school routine, I am ready to work on my poetry collection again. Do you have a project that needs attention?
How do you get going again?
First, look differently at your unfinished projects.
I am really good at starting projects. Finishing them? Well, that takes grit and patience with the process. Sometimes other ideas just call to me. I still have that half-woven guitar strap I started in 1995. My novel? 16,000 or so words need to simmer for a while. The hat I was knitting last year? It can wait for winter.
I am choosing to look at my works-in-progress as progress rather than failure. We all know everything takes practice. Mindset is important.
Next, revisit your goals and evaluate for adjustment.
My goal is to publish my book by December 31, 2020. At this point, I think that goal is fine as long as I start working on it again.
Then, decide how to break that goal into manageable tasks that lead you closer to the goal.
I usually make my to-do lists on Sunday night and Monday morning. This week, I will reach out to my editor to see if she is ready to work with me again. I will begin moving the poems around to organize them by section of the book. I will try to find a narrative structure.
It is important to not get overwhelmed by the big picture. Do one thing at a time.
Finally, do one thing.
One thing leads to the next. Celebrate your small victories. I am excited because I came up with the (working) title of my collection, and that makes the book seem real.
Are you working on a project that is gathering dust? Share in the comments and we can cheer each other on!
©2020 Samantha Lazar
Thank you for reading. Here are parts 1 and 2 if you are curious about the journey: