Art has an end point too

Previously I’ve written about how to start a creative project. This article is about the other end of creativity – after the inspiration, and past the perspiration. How finishing a project has it’s own place in the process and why it’s important.

Beginning a project is easy – inspiration creates its own momentum. Then there are the technical issues around making the object. But at some point we need to stand back, look at what we’ve done, and see it as finished. And be proud of it (even if we don’t really believe this).

For me as an artist, that’s when I sign my name to the work, frame it and put it on the wall. But in my other world, it’s also when I plate up a meal or plant a garden bed.

It’s not always easy. Doubt and expectations are the greatest stumbling blocks of creativity. “Could do better” and “It’s not quite right” hold us back from appreciating the joy of “Look what I made”. Of course I want it to be as perfect as I can make it. My livelihood depends on it. But there’s a point when I need to call it done, and walk away.

Why finish projects?

It frees up space in my mind.
Once something is finished its energy is gone, and I can give my attention to new ideas.

It frees up space in my life
We all have a laundry-basket/garage/sewing-room full of UFO’s – those Un-Finished Objects that demand attention.

It teaches my brain how to finish things.
The more I’ve finished things in the past, the more likelihood I will finish things in the future. It’s like developing muscle-memory for success.

How to finish something

Allow enough time
If that didn’t work, go the extra mile. It’s worth it, especially for short-term deadlines.
Don’t battle it – try another tack. Keep moving forward.
Imagine it finished
Create rewards (chocolate works for me)
Share with your support people.  Accept their encouragement.
If you didn’t finish it, choose the bits you did. Celebrate those.

It’s a process that includes distractions, better ideas, problems. But it results in an Object That Has Been Made.
With our own hands.
That’s the magical part.
Let’s remember to celebrate it.

Finish a Project

Go to your UFO box
Choose the easiest thing
Set a time limit
Finish it

Or try these easy creative projects instead

– make a cake

– photograph 10 things in your home, print them at Officeworks, then get them bound as a book
– plant out a pot for the front door
– embroider your initial on a hanky you already have

– frame something in cheap-store frame. Hang it.

Celebrate your successes
 throw a small party

take a photo
tell a friend
share the story
keep a record
say thankyou

First Published

Page from a magazine with the words from this page and a few other pics on it.
St Cathage's Home Care Life! Autumn2019 p 18

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