8 Dec 2011, 3:03pm
life writing

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My mind’s closet is overstuffed with unfinished ideas. There are inventions, drawings, furniture designs, stories, business plans, clothing concepts and half sketched websites. Cyberspace alone hosts a sad little graveyard of my abandoned projects, be it a webcomic or a writing community or a handful of sites that never got past the under construction page. (Every single one of those links is a website I “started.”) A peek back at my Big Box of ADHD post from 2009 shows a long list of things I thought were top priorities, but three years later, I’ve only finished one or two. Sometimes this feels like a moral failing.

I’m not wonderful at finishing things. Since I was small I’ve had the tendency to bound into projects too big for me, then to get distracted before getting traction, or once I’m well entrenched but lose interest, or, best of all, when I’m ALMOST done but can’t quite bring myself to seal the envelope. Most often of all, no matter how excited I am, I never even start.

I did Holidailies for the first and only time in 2008. I thought it was a little hokey and was embarrassed to advertize my participation, but I managed to post every single day. In fact, 2008 was a good year for completion for me. The wedding, while it would have happened whether or not we’d finished all the preparation, was the first time I was mostly responsible for putting together something so large and having it actually happen. Mainly due to the kindness of friends, but hey, it happened.

The most significant thing I finished in 2008 was my novel, Lost Child of Summer. I haven’t found a publisher but there is something magical about finishing a novel. Even if it’s the worst piece of hackery ever produced (and I don’t think it is) completing a novel makes you feel like you can do anything. Makes me feel like I actually CAN follow through on my thoughts if I’m careful.

I guess I haven’t been careful enough. I haven’t had much luck with completion since 2008. There are always excuses and distractions, and I just never seem to get around to doing what I mean to do.

The Plan was always for me to be a work from home mom. Matt and I, looking ahead, figured I’d take a couple years and get a freelance career going, get some illustration work here, some writing jobs there, and maybe crafting on top. Side projects on the side. Yes, it’s scattered, but I just don’t seem to aim and fire in one direction. Then we’d have a baby, and another a few years later, and I’d slow my work for a while, then pick it back up as I could.

Only those couple years passed, and now I have a six month old… the best excuse ever. And all those intentions are exactly where I left them.

I love being a mom. I am enjoying Ender like I’ve never enjoyed anything. It’s enough to keep me happy, but it’s not enough to keep me satisfied. It’s not just that there are so many things I could do… it’s that there are so many things that I’ve wanted to do. It’s pretty obvious that it can take effort and determination to do something you don’t like to do. What is less obvious is how much effort and determination it takes to do something you DO like to do.

So this year, I thought maybe a good start would be to do Holidailies again. I am sick of looking at last year’s resolutions and saying, no. Not one. Ender is getting to the age where he takes somewhat reliable naps, so it’s time to make some use of those hour long chunks. I’ll post every day for a month, and then at the end of the month, maybe posting once a week won’t seem so unlikely. Maybe drawing will be less of a chore. Maybe I’ll finally revisit my short stories and novel.

Maybe I’ll remember that I’m capable of completion.


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