November 4th, 2009

Mask

70%

I am 70% done 70% of the projects on my To-Do list.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote up a huge project list, a project list that I added to often. I finished about 30% of this list and worked on the other 70% until all of those projects were about 70% done. Two photo books, several short stories, a podcast, two articles, websites, one comic script, one role-playing game and the first draft of a novel. All of them, 70% done.

It's getting frustrating. And, of course, I have no one to be frustrated with except myself. It's not anyone else's fault except my own that I haven't actually buckled down and finished these projects. As many of you creative types might know, starting is easy - I've even managed to work past that whole "middle" hump - but now it get's to finishing, and something always comes up.

Here's the general template of how it happens - I'm sure many of you are familiar with this.

1. You start Project A - it's freakin' awesome! You are filled with the joy of the New Idea, and motivated with the delight of new project love.

2. You get to the middle of Project A - self doubt, questioning, boredom - but you persist because you are not a weenie, you can do this!

3. Ah! You are almost finished - nearly there, just need the last final push!

4. You need to go see your mother, because it's been a month since you had dinner with her.

5. Your friend just had a baby! Let's go poke it. Aww. Is cute.

6. Carl and Anna's wedding is coming up - where is your gift? Crap! Get on it!

7. Have dinner with Steve - complain about art projects - Steve tells you about this thing he wants to do, Project B? You guys should totally work together on it because he knows this editor and it might get published and it will be awesome. Of course, you agree - I just need to finish Project A first. He says, alright, but remember, Project B will be due in a month. Oh, you say, well, I guess I need to work on that then.

8. DO YOU HAVE THAT THING FOR THE SHOW YOU SAID YOU WOULD HAVE THREE MONTHS AGO OhMyGod IT'S DUE ON FRIDAY GET WITH IT!

9. Go to the show in a blue wig. Meet really cool people. Think about Project A - this weekend, you tell yourself.

10. Realize that you live like a cave-woman. Do the dishes. Wash underpants.

11. Go to Carl and Anna's wedding. It's beautiful. Makes you cry. Write notes on a really nice napkin for Project A during the reception.

12. Lose the napkin.

13. Steve comes by. He lives close now and can check in on you whenever he likes. He asks "How is work going on Project B?" "Haha." you say. "I have lots of ideas!" There is some drinking.

14. Start work on Project B. It's so awesome. You are filled with the joy of the New Idea, and motivated with the delight of new project love.

This is not to say that I haven't finished things this year. I have. Her Side, two art shows, a photo project for a book in collaboration with other artists, shooting a wedding, an article, a few short stories, two book covers and participation in a collaborative photo project which will be appearing in an art show soon. Very exciting stuff. But there is so much more.

I can see the problems here. One, is that I love doing all kinds of things, and really, to get stuff done, one needs to focus. One project at a time. Or maybe two, but certainly not 40.

The other trouble is time management. After work, I have about two hours of functioning creative time a night, which isn't a lot of time to make serious progress on 40 projects. I'm thinking about taking a month where I don't do ANYTHING. No shows, no conventions, not even dinner with friends - just project work. I've had enough of the 70% hanging over my head.

If I start making announcements about a bunch of things I've finished, you'll know that my strategies are paying off.