Start to Finish

yoda“Will he finish what he begins?” asks Yoda in the classic The Empire Strikes Back. A new project always has the siren call of the new, shiny, sometimes the unexpected. But do you finish?

Sometimes it is the small stuff that counts. Work, time management, planning, and yes finishing. Starting new projects is fun, we all know that. Something catches your eye, or you get an idea that won’t be denied. You start the new project. But how far do you go? I do a lot of classifying of projects in my life. Everything from settling my grandmother’s estate to cleaning out a junk drawer in my 15 spare minutes on a random day. It’s part of my own personalization of Getting Things Done by David Allen. Each project is broken down into manageable and identifiable next steps. I know how much time I have and what I want to accomplish. Then I work the project to completion. Bigger projects, more steps but I work to complete one step or stage before moving on to the next. That way I can say it’s done.

I have recently tried applying this to my writing life as well. Whether it is planning, characterization, plotting, writing or editing, I pick a “chunk” and get to work. When I get to the end, I work on the next part. Prior to doing this I left a lot of projects undone. Are you a list maker? Do you cross things off your list? Well, I was the complete opposite and added things to the list. The list got longer and longer and I never felt like I was making any progress. I changed what I was doing and started working in projects and making sure it was complete before moving on to the next. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t have any number of projects going on at one time. I’m not that serialized. But I have one short story, one blog, one novel, one edit, one chore, one errand, one whatever going at a time. If I don’t feel like writing on the short story or edits during my writing time, then I work on the novel. I also keep track of how much I am accomplishing to see if I need to change anything, but that is another post.

Do you finish what you begin? Is there something you could go and finish now? Write on.

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