Projects have eluded me for years. Finishing lines are a distant dream, somewhere over a far away horizon. Good luck finishing this little essay, I tell myself. And I am so used to not finishing, I have stopped beating myself up if I don’t. I just shrug my shoulders and move on. Probably not the best attitude towards not finishing something, but it is certainly the better attitude if I want to keep starting new things. Because, if I scolded myself, and worried and became anxious over not finishing a specific project, I could easily barrel down a steep hill of ‘why should I bother starting something new when I know I won’t finish it, I am horrible, I am worthless’ kind of derailment. So, even though I always start with the best of intentions, I don’t get over stressed if I walk away from a work that isn’t burning me with passion anymore. I chalk it up to good practice, I can always go back to it later, and I learned something in there somewhere and can use it somewhere else.
Usually, those projects that I do finish are for other people. A knitted hat or pair of gloves, a short story for a birthday or the holidays, a watercolor painting for someone coming to visit in a few weeks. And usually it is something that needs to be given at a very limited time frame. Like the watercolors…I did three small paintings for a visiting friend, and promised three more for my mother who is staying with me. The ones for the visitor were finished in a few days, whereas I gave up on my mothers’ weeks ago and will probably not do them at all. A set of notebooks I bound for my best friend are done and finished, but still waiting for their faux-dori covering to be put in. And we will not even begin to discuss the number of plot lines with less than a dozen chapters to their names that sit in a desk drawer and multiple Scivener folders on my hard drive.
I have finished a few things for myself. The first pair of fingerless gloves I ever designed and knitted were out of desperation. I needed them. I was back in Canada one October, cold and wet, and walking my parents’ dog. I didn’t want the cheap $2 gloves you can find in the grocery checkout. I needed something where I could feel that I was picking up the poop with the dodo bag, and pulling one Scooby snack from my pocket, and not dumping out a pile, but also long enough so I could tuck my fingers in and hold the leash. So, I made them. And then, of course, my mother wanted a pair, and my grandmother was upset that I hadn’t thought of making her a pair first, and so on and so on. I earned my gas money that month making those stupid gloves, to get back to Savannah, and some grocery money for the next year or two. If I ever make another pair, it will be only for myself…because I have improved the design and want a new pair. But I probably won’t. Because I don’t NEED them, and I have no deadline.
The most recent project I did for myself was an upcycled apron from an old (but pristine) pair of jeans I will never fit again. I needed the apron for when I paint. NEED!! Otherwise I am bound to wipe a brush off on my work pants without realizing it. It took me nearly six hours on New Year’s Day. And it turned out fucking awesome!! I then did the stupidest thing and posted it on facebook. I had people asking for their own immediately. I declined. But…talking to a barista I like, who also has those old pairs he will never fit, I promised to make him one if he got to his goal weight. No time limit for him, but it made me happy to promise it to him because there is an understanding there. It is an incentive he needs, because he really wants it.
The best incentive for a project I have right now is a sweater I started to knit about two years ago. First set back was a whole new technic I had never come across. Called, short rows. The devil’s spit if you ask me. I just got through that first section, after scouring youtube and craftsy for tutorials, when I had to stop. School had started for me. I decided on getting an Associates degree in accounting after not finishing my Masters in Creative Writing (whole other life adventure which I will, maybe, discuss on another essay). So that put all creative life on hold. I tinkered with it a bit on breaks, but not much. I finished school this last December (4.0, Dean’s List, Phi Theta Kappa!!) and immediately dove back into all that I have missed so much. Writing, painting, knitting, bookbinding, breathing. I picked up the sweater with a burning fervor. I want this done! I want to wear it! And what better incentive than a trip to Iceland? For my graduation my boyfriend is taking us there for the summer solstice, and his birthday. I want to have it done in time to wear it while I am there. I NEED it while I am there. I tell myself this, and it shall be so.
I wish I could have this drive with my writing. My best friend also writes, and we encourage each other and try to set goals and deadlines but we never stick to them. I want to do NANOWRIMO, but that is the month I pick up mother in Canada and drive her to Savannah. It takes all month to get her settled in, and she burns me out and keeps my attention constantly. I am considering a personal MYNOWRIMO in May or July. At this time nothing is planned by someone else for me. If I had it my way, there would never be plans for me…ever. With school done, I have made strides on two works I was piddling with before school started. I do have word goals for each of them, use Scrivener to keep organized, and just do what I can when I can. I don’t beat myself up if I don’t do morning pages, or 750 words a day. I praise myself when I do do something. I focus on the positive, not the stagnant. This has helped me the most.
And with that, look at that. I believe I have actually finished this and made it a complete thought. I hope you enjoy my little confession. And by coming by it honestly, I mean my father. I blame him. I always saw my birthday presents just before christmas and my christmas presents in May or June. If he tries to heckle me about not finishing something, I just remind him of my genetics and he shuts up pretty quick. Cheers!