That age old question when you’re just staring at the piles of projects you’ve started with all the good intentions inside of you. Anything from a dress to an epic art piece that struck you with lightning inspiration. Sometimes it’s just a matter of organizing your time. I have piles of planners and bullet journals dedicated to a magical world full of future dreams. The reality of the situation is that sometimes no matter how careful you are with your time, some projects just run out of steam.
UFO’s and long term projects
UFO stands for Un-Finished Project in the maker’s world. We all have them and anyone who has ever dived into any sort of hobby that surrounds making something knows the struggle. We all have cycles of creativity. Currently I am getting back into writing and picking up some of my more challenging novels that have remained unfinished for years. I also have a Zodiac copic marker art series that I have about 4 finished pieces on but there’s still 8 left.
My novels and writing generally are the hardest for me to finish because it’s near impossible to force myself to edit my own writing. I can do it on a blog post because they are between 500 and a 1000 words. That doesn’t compare to 50,000 words. These are my long term projects because I can’t handle the fact that I have all these “finished” novels and no way of getting them polished and published.
My artwork is completely different. This is literally the one creative outlet that I have that I would classify the unfinished pieces as UFO’s. I know when a piece is finished and ready to put up online for sale. I can generally finish these pieces the quickest unless the inspiration dies and I can’t bring myself to do anything more on this piece. Like my Phoenix/Dragon piece, that thing has been a UFO for a good two years now and I still don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. Last note on my artwork, my skills are ever evolving along with my style so I can come back to a piece years later and have the abilities I didn’t have before to finish a piece the way I want to.
Now my clothing construction and making is the easiest for me to work on. I can plan out an outfit, work on the patterns and construction then eventually I have a finished garment. I don’t know why but I can never just leave a garment without at least getting it to that point where I can wear it. If I haven’t finished something, I leave it on my dress form and it’s a constant reminder of what I need to finish. I only have one ‘UFO’ at a time unlike the dozens of unfinished art pieces and novels.
The stress of unfinished projects
I have a room full of projects. I used to do a lot of crafting and I still make my own Christmas cards every year but I don’t make photo albums anymore. There’s this lack of interest that comes over me when I think about the three unfinished albums languishing on my bookshelf. I want the finished project but I don’t want to put the time into it anymore.
When I finally reorganized my priorities, I realized I was spending a ton of money on art and crafting supplies. The sad truth was, I wasn’t using these supplies before they either dried up or went bad. I was storing up an art store worth of stuff for that special day when I would actually have the time to enjoy it all.
Now I only buy what I need for planned out projects and that is it. That has led me to purge a lot of things that I didn’t need and as a result I have more room to actually work on the project. I have a nice, generally clean and organized work space ready for whatever I want to work on at the time.
This also allows me to bring out the long unfinished projects and start to work on them when I can carve the time out of my busy schedule. I have the ability to finally focus on the projects that mean more like my gray and white robe a la anglais or on my zodiac copic marker series. I might even start work on my Lord Mecha trilogy before November!
Planning your projects
I realize that I am only one person and can’t work on three projects at once even though they are all very different from each other. This means that planning is a must.
Inktober and Nanowrimo are great ways of pacing your artistic flow. They are consistent resources on generating motivation with large projects. I have been working all summer on my dressmaking. My previous blog posts reflect that and I’m proud on how much I’ve accomplished. I’ve set achievable goals and had a place to wear these outfits.
Inktober is going to be where I focus on my Zodiac series. I have a clear plan on each piece and have an established style. This helps with longer projects. When the drag of trying to keep motivated on something usually halts me, preplanning almost like you would a novel comes in handy.
The upcoming Nanowrimo event in November is going to be dedicated to writing the sequel to my published book, Lord Mecha. I have half of it written so hopefully I can write the other half and start on the final book of that series. Then I can have a nice little trilogy sitting on my bookshelf.
That Special Feeling
The feeling of finally ending a project is bitter sweet. It’s great because you have a finished project but the journey is over. When I was younger I was always starting new projects and rarely, if ever actually finishing anything. As I’ve gotten older and the finished projects have slowly become more frequent, I’ve come to relish that feeling of putting something out into the world that I have made.
It’s the feedback and growing following of people that actually appreciate what I’ve created that drives me to complete projects now. I’ve reached the point that I not only create for myself but also for others. I like the feeling of contributing to the enrichment of others. That I have a voice that is distinctly my own and it’s characterized by my creative projects.
That is the answer, at least for me on why I should really finish all those projects piled up in my office.