As I mentioned in last week’s post, I managed to complete a few independent projects in the midst of all my little “start-up” projects as a pre-teen and teen. The ideas just flowed from my mind to the keyboard, and I even edited them a few times before declaring them complete. So why did I finish those and not others?
Those projects were a series of dance plays whose character names were based on then-WWF wrestling stars (I feel my face getting red as I write this) and a Star Trek novel that I actually submitted for consideration. (It got returned with a yellow highlighter circling the explanation for my manuscript’s rejection: I needed an agent.)
The shallow answer: those characters inspired me.
The deeper answer: those characters were alive in my head. Characters I made up in new stories didn’t have the detail and back history that TV characters I’d been watching weekly for years did. I didn’t care about the characters I’d made up, but I did care about the ones on screen.
The same reason lies behind why I stopped reading fiction after I outgrew the Nancy Drew series and Jean Little‘s books. I couldn’t find an author or a character I cared about. This isn’t anyone’s fault, of course. This is just an observation.
What’s held you up from finishing some projects? Think about it. Maybe you believe you have to wait for inspiration to hit before you create. That’s a crucial mistake I made when I was younger.
Maybe your project was inspired by someone important in your life, and they’re no longer around. (I believe Louise May Alcott stopped including Amy in a book or two, because the sister who had inspired the character had died shortly after giving birth.)
Or maybe your reason is deeper than you’re able to admit to yourself right now.
But find out why. Creating a project and seeing it through to completion is a lot easier without any dams in the way.