Friday, January 1, 2016

Finish What You Start

Welcome to the monkey dance that will be 2016 on my blog! I want to talk about one of the most important concepts of being a writer. You have to finish what you start. For the longest time I used to put project on top of project on top of project in a leaning tower of ideas, paper, and files on the computerbox. All of which consumed my time until the next great idea would pop into my head. There is nothing wrong with having a hobby, but I was searching for a direction. I was searching for the subject of my life's work.

Every idea I had was a great idea, but not every great idea will produce fruit. Ideas don't produce fruit, plants do, you silly person. I completed very little of what I set out to do. That includes a lot of writing projects that I began but never finished. After several years of doing this I have realized that none of it matters if you do not finish anything. So what is it that prevents you from finishing your work in progress? Kids? Spouse? Godzilla?

Fear Of Judgement

This will hit anyone that makes any kind of art made for others to enjoy. Some people will like it, some won't. Some people will be outspoken about how much they despise you and your work. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. I have had many people hate me for reasons that make little to no sense. They have a reason, but sometimes it doesn't make sense in their own mind either.

I'll give you an example. One time long ago I was part of a gaming community. The community's main form of communication at the time was IRC (I know, I'm ancient). One of the main channels was explicitly for pick up games. The majority of the community would switch between two main IRC servers periodically because one of the owners of the IRC server would piss off one of the leaders in the gaming community. It was all very high school. After one of these switches, I registered the pick up game channel to hold it for the person who had that channel on the other server. They didn't want it back, but they did want OPs (kinda like moderator control). I set that up for them and we were cool.

A couple of months after this another of my friends banned me from other channels we hung out in. No explanation, no discussion, just banned. I tried to reach out to him, but he wouldn't talk to me at all. Several months later I found out that he hated me for registering the pick up game channel. He thought I had "stolen" it from the person who ran it previously. No matter what I told him or others, I could not sway his opinion of me. He hated me with a passion and everyone else was like "wtf mate?" *Australian accent optional*

My point being that no matter what you do some people are going to find a reason to hate you, so why worry about their judgement? They could love everything you do and then turn on you in a second with knives flying through the air at your balloons. There is nothing anyone can do about this. It is completely out of your control and it shouldn't prevent you from putting your awesome out there for others to enjoy. Opinions are like onions, they make me cry when I cut them. What? That's not how that saying goes?

I Have No Time!

Priorities! There are always other things going on. Other things that will pull at your attention. Things that are filled with pretty and awesome and sparkly goodness. Everyone has responsibilities that tug at them for attention. Family, pets, TV shows, parties, etc.. There are so many things that can chip away at that calendar preventing you from working on the projects that you are trying to finish.

The truth is that if you really want to do something then you will MAKE TIME for it. Really examine your schedule and what you spend your time doing. There are gaps within that could be filled with your current work in progress. Gaps where you were watching a TV show or movie that you had the time for. Gaps where you spent an hour on Facebook or social media that you had time for. Gaps where you played Tic-Tac-Toe with Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe (I hear he's a great conversationalist) that you had time for. Then you tell yourself that you don't have time. Make time.

The New Exciting Shiny!

Staying focused on the task at hand can be a difficult task. As difficult as brushing an alligator's teeth. Have you ever tried to brush an alligator's teeth? New and exciting things are always pushing for your attention including new ideas for a new work in progress. I get new story ideas almost daily. I will never get the chance to write every idea that I have for a story. I would have to gain the ability to write a book every couple of days. This is why you shouldn't drop one good idea for another.

Stay focused on the task at hand. If you keep switching between tasks then in the end you spend a lot of time to get nothing in return. It's like trying to travel to distant places by running on a treadmill. If you're putting blood sweat and tears into something for months only to abandon it on a whim to start another project then you are wasting your time. Don't waste your time on something today you are going to abandon tomorrow.

Conclusion

Suck it up buttercup. Pull up your socks and adjust your uh... something that rhymes with socks. Take your tired lame excuses and set fire to them. Don't let your distractions whip you, whip your distractions while wearing a thong in a sexytimes way. Stay focused and finish what you started or Garfield will hunt you down and tell you all the ways in which he hates Mondays.

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