If you’re getting the PBW Update, you know I recently talked about progress weeks. (If you’re not getting the PBW Update, here’s a link so you can fix that.) If you missed it, a progress week is one in which you make progress on a long-term project but don’t finish it. If you’re prone to having multiple projects, like me, it’s a week where you make progress on all or some of your projects but don’t wrap up anything.
A lot of weeks are progress weeks. In fact, a vast majority of weeks are progress weeks. That’s the way of things.
Now, I spend some time every Sunday trying to figure out what I can do/should do in the next three weeks to progress on my current projects. This is a suggestion made by Lisa Jacobs. If you’re not following her, you should be. But recently, every week when I do this I’m coming up with the same thing.
I have a lot of progress weeks ahead of me. None of my projects are even close to being done. And I have a real problem handling that.
Progress weeks do all sorts of nasty things to me. Things that I’m still fighting against. Because completing a project feels great! So great, in fact, that’s in an addiction. Completing things is addictive. Producing things is addictive. And here are some of my symptoms when I need a fix.
I rush projects
I want to be done with something, anything! So I start rushing through projects. Cutting corners and skipping important things. This just leads to screw-ups and having to backtrack to do the damn thing right. Or, it means I put out a crappy story that deserved better.
I ignore other things I need to do
I tend to be a little bit of a workaholic. I preach self-care, mostly to remind myself to do it. When I’m coming to the end of a project, I don’t want to do anything but work on it. I ignore my family, ignore my own physical and mental limitations because I want to get it done. This doesn’t just go for my writing. If I decide the basement needs cleaned, it will all be cleaned and I will do not a damn thing else until it is. This is obsessive behavior!
I abandon projects for new shiny things
Sometimes self-care means taking a break. Sometimes self-care even means putting projects away for awhile or giving up on a project altogether.
And sometimes, an intellectually smart person who’s sometimes stupid who hasn’t had a win in awhile abandons a project so that she can start on a new one. Because while there’s nothing like finishing a project, starting a project is a close second. That’s how we end up with a pile of half done short stories, books, essays, angry letters to politicians and email courses.
I second guess my projects
Following up on the last comment, my idiot brain will tell myself that it’s okay to abandon a project because it’s not really that good anyway.
It’s probably actually just fine. Or it has flaws, as all projects do, but it needs a little more work. Or a lot more work.
It takes away the joy of creating.
I am a writer because I love to write. I love writing stories, creating words and even editing a piece until it shines. It’s literally what I want to spend almost all of my time doing. Sometimes I want to crochet and watch The Awesomes. But mostly I just want to write. And when I’m focusing entirely on completing a writing project, I’m not loving the creative process.
And if all I care about is the final result, I might as well just focus on my day job. So I’m working on getting control of my addiction. I’ll feel better once I start knocking some of these projects off my to-do list, which should be this month.
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