Thursday, December 12, 2019

What Does It Take To Finish?

This week I am running on a huge victory! I published my debut novel "Leap of Faith." Now I am a published author and my publishing company release its first novel. (Don't mind me, I'm doing a little dance over here.)

Now that I am at the end of this journey, I am looking back to the beginning and realizing how far I came during this project. I remember asking myself three years ago - What does it take to finish? Now I am prepared to answer that question.

When you are at the beginning of any big project, it feels daunting. It can feel impossible and too big to take on.

It's not!!!

The most important thing is to remember why you are doing this project to begin with. The how will work itself out. I was still doing publishing research up until the moment I hit submit. Then I went and researched one more thing, just to be sure.

Find your vision. Figure out exactly what you want to do. Define it. Write it down. Sketch it out. Get that clear visual out into the world so you know what you are working with. This is also the step to gather your materials. I'm an author so all I need is my mind and a laptop (or pencil and paper). For an artist you would need your canvas, brushes, paint, etc. You get the idea. You know your craft.

My first piece of advice is to break it down. A big project feels overwhelming because there are a lot of parts to it. If you are building a house, you will do it in stages. You wouldn't decorate the walls before you put the roof on. Just like you wouldn't put the roof on before you build the walls. Big projects work with the same methodology.

Once you have a solid vision, start with the foundation. For my story this is putting a lot of words to page. Though this novel did go through a Nanowrimo iteration, the majority of my writing happened in a notebook during the spring. I wrote while riding the bus, late at night by the light of a small lamp and all over the place in between.

I had about sixty thousand words before I moved on the "walls" of my project. For an artist, it may be only the base layer of paint.

Keep building on your foundation. My next step in creating my novel was to arrange it and start to fill in the plot holes. This took a long time. This is where two years of my project went. This would be building the walls in this metaphor. I began to separate my scenes into chapters and give the characters depth. This is also where I expanded on the secondary characters in the story.

This is the part of any big project where it is easy to get lost and forget why you are putting so much energy into something so laborious. It will feel like you will never finish and it is all for nothing. This is not true!

Keep going!

You can do it. You can find a way. If you are feeling lackluster, find a coach or a confidant to help keep you going. Remember your why! The reason you began this project will be a huge motivator in finishing it.

It's okay if it is hard. It is okay to take a break. It is okay to change your mind. Keep going and it will all be worth it.

Add the finishing touches. This part can be the most exciting because your project is finally coming together. However, I have also realized this is also where the most resistance comes in. When you are so close to finishing is when it feels the hardest to follow through.

When I was doing the final revisions of my novel, I felt the least motivated of the entire project. It was so close but I still wondered if it would ever get finished. This is where a realistic deadline can be a lot of help. I will say this though, give yourself more time than you need. Tasks tend to take longer than you think they will. Plan accordingly.

Once you get those final touches done, breath easy and celebrate. Watch your work come alive. Any creative endeavor, something out of nothing, is a beautiful accomplishment and deserves praise.

But you aren't finished yet.

Put your work out there. Challenges occur at every step. This one is one of the toughest because it is letting go of something you have put so time and effort into. This is also the most rewarding part. Good or bad, your work affects people. That is a true expression that cannot be denied.

What you have created is worth everything you have put into it. All the time, dreaming, research and work all come together in one moment where you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Enjoy it. Celebrate. Then go on to the next project.

What does it take to finish? Persistence.

Never give up. Remember why you started. Work step by step. Find constant encouragement. 

Believe in yourself.

Have you finished a big project? Share it! Let's celebrate together.

Peace and Love, 

I love to encourage all creators. My specialty is in writing. Are you interested in writing a book? No matter where you are in the process - from idea to ready to publish - we can help! Balancing Tree Press offers writing coaching to help you break down a big project into smaller steps that is personalized to your work and schedule. Find Out More!


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