Whether a writer, a painter, a photographer or any other job that involves the process of creating, anyone knows how hard it is to stay focused on something you are about to finish. At the very beginning, when the idea for your project is born, your enthusiasm is up to the roof and you can’t wait to start working, to finish the process of organizing your thoughts, so that you can actually see it on paper, canvass, in print and so on. But after you start working, just when you are about to finish, you bump into a new idea, and you don’t feel like finishing the old project, because the new one wants to tie you down and keeps telling you it’s going to be better than the one you are forging right now.
To me that’s the natural course of things and I always end up hating the old project for keeping me away from the new one, but the minute I am done with it, when I know I’ve done everything I could to get it ready for the world to see, I get this overwhelming feeling, congratulating myself for not giving up even when I hated doing it. For that to happen, over the years I have identified 4 steps and tricks I apply to get over the, what I call, the boredom phase:
1. You are half way there. You know exactly what else you need to finish. Your mind starts wandering and flies all over the place just to keep you unfocused. You start searching for new ideas, that always seem to be much more interesting than the one you have in front of you. One trick I discovered, that helps when I hit this phase, is to find someone to talk to about your project. It can be a friend, a member of your family or anyone who is willing to listen. You will see that the more you talk about it the more you will get excited about it again.
2. You have almost gathered all the material you need. You are almost there. You start lying to yourself that you can take a break now, it doesn’t matter that much anymore. This phase is really dangerous, because the minute you hit that play button on a movie, to relax instead of working, you will never leave the couch or the comfort of your bed again. I fell into this one many times before and sometimes I have to fight it hard. If your body and mind are telling you that you need a break, maybe they really need it. So, it’s best to take some distance from the project and make a relaxing plan. Give yourself two days or whatever time you think you need, but don’t go pass that deadline, otherwise you will get stuck there.
3. You have everything you need now. You just have to finish doing those last lines, that last edit. Suddenly panic overcomes you and all the voices inside tell you that what you have in front of your eyes is crap. No one will wanted. No one will like it. No one will understand it. You should just destroy it and start working on something else. This was suppose to be perfect and it’s far from it. The first thing you have to do is remember why you started doing the project in the first place. Why did you love it so much in the beginning? What was so special about it? As soon as you have the answers to those questions, you are good to go again.
4. You’re done. You are proud of yourself and like a fool you think your work is finished. You go on and look at it one last time, just for fun. After a few hours of analyzing it, you realize you are far from ending it and you can almost feel those tears gathering in the corners of your eyes, the frustration invading your whole body. Breath in and out. Remember that when you first started this, you said you could work on it forever, this is your favorite one and nothing can prevent you from loving it. You are your worst enemy and the only thing that keeps you from perfection is yourself.
These are the main steps I go through every time I am working on a project. If you are in the same boat as I am, I think the things above will help you go passed those steps for a while. Just remember, no project will be perfect in your eyes. You will always want to change something, to trim it more; a small line there, a new word here. But, while the urge to keep change it gets bigger and bigger, stop for a second and think back to the message you want to send out there, because the more you trim it, the more you are changing the original message you had in mind.