117. Five Things To Remember When You Want to Finish Big Writing Projects

Started the day writing, before we did all kind of cleaning up- and baby-prep stuff. And I quickly got some business-mail out of the way, and although I know it is waiting for me Monday, I just had to get going. So I wrote again – a scene for my story. And I felt rejuvenated.

And that also means that today I felt like reviewing the following advice, that I’ve given and will continue to give myself – about my creative projects. And if you find yourself in my situation from time to time, I guess this could be useful for you as well.

Here it is:

1) First one is so banal, really. Do something creative first in the day, whenever possible – before all the Other Chores. Just a bit. A bit that feeds your soul. That builds up something important for the long-term.  So do it often. Repeat it. There is still time enough for the Other Chores.

2) Remember – remember – that I have to tell stories to feel alive, and it is that simple, and I know it and I am deeply regretful about the periods when I have forgotten it, for all sorts of ‘good reasons’. Or when I have doubted my ability to do it, to ever bring my storytelling out into the world in any meaningful form and therefore have stalled. I have to keep fighting that and so the only way that makes sense is to do it one fight at a time, a few hundred words here and there – but regularly.

3) Accept that I may very well, ludicrously as it sounds, live until 80 and die with lots of unfulfilled creative and commercial potential. I’ve failed so often before in finishing projects. But fine. So be it. But if there is one thing that is more scary than that prospect of another failure, then it is to let that fear rule me. And let it stop me from even trying. And then letting it destroy everything else that I can and should appreciate in life. I won’t let that happen.

4) Never let the best be the enemy of the good, especially not if it comes to do something creative that means so much to me. In my current situation … at some point, give or take a baby’s upbringing and 1001 stressful workdays, there will be more order in the apartment again. Or elsewhere. Or in my head. Whatever comes first … Order enough so I feel better about sitting down somewhere and drawing for longer. In a suitable, good enough space. So it is actually physically possible to do it! But the very first thing to do is to keep those embers in that space where they need to be always, no matter what: Alive. So I have to draw a little bit, as often as possible, even if it feels like it is never enough and that I shouldn’t do it because it is so little and unworthy. But that is exactly what I should not do. That kind of attitude leads to the ultimate defeat – and you get nothing done.

5) Remember that wanting to be seen more than anything is the worst motivation to create art. The worst of all. It can and will destroy you. And your art. Whichever comes first. That’s not the same as wanting to share. The former is about building a statue of yourself for people to worship – your Great Work of Art – a substitute for your Great Lack of Self-Worth. The former is about sharing and having fun, even if it is only five people following you on a blog somewhere. Remember that, because that connects with the true passion that fuels art.

Read more:

The advice in this post is a composite of the first post excerpts in the category “Art & Creativity” from Dec 2016-April 2017

Here you can also find direct links to the posts themselves and read them as part of a narrative about the ups and downs of an-always-in-the-making writer (me).