Do You Finish What You Start?

Cornerstone by Misty ProvencherBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

Do you finish what you start?

In Cornerstone, an urban fantasy by Misty Provencher, Nalena Maxwell’s mother is the worst kind of non-finisher (or so Nalena thinks). Every week, Nalena stops at the stationery store to buy paper for her mom, an unpublished writer. Nalena hates “paper day” because their house is already filled with paper. (Imagine Extreme Hoarders: Paper Edition.)

Even though Nalena’s mom spends her whole day writing, she never finishes a story. She’s always writing snippets. Bits of characters. Random sentences. Ideas that she sets aside to write the next idea.

Nalena begs her to finish just one because they’re on welfare, barely able to pay their rent. Nalena resents her mother’s inability to follow through.

We later find out Nalena’s mother isn’t a normal writer, but when I first read about their situation, all I could do was pray, “Please don’t let that be me.”

I want to be a finisher, not someone who leaves a trail of half-finished projects scattered behind her.

I know there’s value in trying different things and experimenting to see what we like and what we don’t. We learn a lot from trial and error. But doesn’t a time come when we need to focus on one project and see it through to the end?

When we hop from project to project or continually tinker with the same project for years, we’re cheating ourselves.

We miss out on the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing. By completing, we also prove to ourselves we can finish. And we overcome the fear that might be the real reason we haven’t finished anything. If we did it once, we can do it again.

Beyond that, what value is there in unfinished projects? I’m not getting any benefit from the half-finished projects around my house. (On the contrary, they’re actually in my way.) I’m not getting any benefit from the half-finished projects collecting virtual dust on the hard drive of my computer. Until I finish them, the time spent on them was, at least in part, wasted.

One of the changes I’m trying to make as the New Year approaches is to work on one project at a time, to force myself to complete one before I allow myself to start on something new. I don’t expect it to be easy. I’m hoping, though, that by sticking to one thing until it’s finished, I’ll develop the determination and perseverance to make it a habit that will mean I complete more in the long run.

Do you finish one project before you start another? Or do you tend to get bored and move on to something new, leaving a trail of unfinished projects behind you?

You can get Cornerstone free right now on Kindle. It’s also available as a paper copy. (The link to the paper copy is an affiliate link. If that bothers you, click on the Kindle link and you can select the paperback version from there.)

I’d love to have you sign up to receive my posts by email. All you need to do is enter your email address below and hit the “Follow” button. You can also join me on my Facebook page.

Enter your email address to follow this blog: