I’m a great starter and I finish strong… When I actually finish.
In a previous post I discussed procrastination and fostering creativity through incubation.
But how do you follow through?
One of my worst personality flaws concerns following through with my own ideas. I’m a Person of Ideas. When the Wizard handed out Brains and Hearts and Courage, he gave me Ideas. Every day I have ten new ideas.
Ideas flow naturally.
And yet, I have not followed through with any of my own original ideas.
Beginning a creative endeavor is the easy part: Just come up with the idea. From the idea grows the implementation. Typically, I get about 25% through implementation before I’ve grown tired of the idea. Back to incubation and procrastination, it’s a problem I’ve already solved!
What kind of ideas, you ask?
I like to write. As a consequence, I’m always coming up with new stories, new characters, and new situations. You’ve never read a single one of my stories because they’re all sitting on my hard drive roughly 25% complete.
I like to code. As a consequence, I’m always coming up with new projects, new data structures, new applications. But apart from the code on this blog, you’ve never seen a single project I’ve created. They’re all sitting in my personal repository, probably around 25% complete.
This is a curse! Why do I even bother?
Let’s jump back to incubation, implementation and procrastination. And let’s mix in a little self-confidence and fear of failure.
The ideas stem from incubation. The completed 25% comes from implementation followed by procrastination. Finally, the lack of confidence and fear of failure prevent the much-needed defibrillation my ideas require for completion.
What have I done to follow through?
Much like understanding the importance of incubation, understanding the importance of commitment – even if it’s a commitment to a personal idea – is the first and most critical step in following through.
Kind of a no-brainer, huh?
I have a flock of projects that I’m going to publish to GitHub. They’re not complete. But I understand that if I ever want them completed, I’ve got to make a commitment, even if it’s a commitment to myself.
The first step in addressing my commitment issue, then, is to literally commit the code!
Likewise, I have a flock of stories that I need to publish, whether on this blog or Kindle or whatever. In a similar fashion, I’ve got to commit to their completion. The first step, therefore, is to set aside a little time every week to just chip away a word at a time from each adventure.
I’m never going to complete every single idea I ever have… there are simply too many. But I can chip away at the more important ideas. I can share the interesting ideas with the world. I can make a commitment to myself and everyone else to chip away at my ideas and, within reason, make them public.
Perhaps then, I can grow from being a Person of Ideas to being a Person of Implementation.