Fear of Finishing
I’ve had an epiphany lately. Finishing things is scary.
That may not seem like an epiphany. In fact, it might seem downright confusing. But believe me, it’s something that’s hard to admit to myself.
Sometimes finishing things isn’t difficult. Like finishing a steak. The only thing I have to fear is that there will be no more steak.
Or finishing the laundry. Because laundry sucks and who wouldn’t want to be finished with it?
No, when it comes to fearing completion of anything, I am of course mostly talking about creative projects.
“But Manda!” You might say, “Wouldn’t it be a relief to finish anything?!”
Well…sometimes, yes, sure. In fact it’s always a relief once you finish. But if no creative was afraid of finishing, there would be a lot more published novels out there. Sometimes the very decision to keep going to the finish line is a hurdle in itself.
Because to finish something often means that you will be sharing your product with the world. And sharing it with the world will obviously open it up to scrutiny and criticism. It means there is that possibility that the script or the novel or the painting or the performance you slaved over, the thing that is very much a part of you and helped you grow as a person, will be torn apart by an uncaring public.
That’s scary. That is incredibly scary. But as long as a project remains unfinished, as long as you spend time finessing it, it will remain protected from the scrutiny of the world at large.
Once again, foolishly, I had hoped I was not one of those people. But then I began to write a webseries with Errol. And then we began to film it. And when it came to the production itself, I was very much on my own in organizing everything. And I very much have no clue what I’m doing.
The series is close to being finished. And well…I have to admit I’m scared. This is perhaps one of the first times I have been solely responsible for making sure this thing gets done. This is the first time I’m heading up the project (at least one of this size). And there have been mistakes. And there have been compromises. And there have been hard lessons learned (ie I need rehearsals).
But there’s been fun too, of course. Errol is an awesome co-writer and performer. And I am immensely proud of my creative partners and am still floored by their abilities. Right now, in our protective production bubble, it’s a great experience.
Once it is finished though where it will go is completely unpredictable. People might love it. People might troll it. Heck, it might not be popular enough to be trolled.
But finished it must be. As scary as it is there are many advantages to finishing things.
Like bragging rights.
Or getting to see Errol’s smug face! (if Errol happens to be your smug creative partner)
And of course the celebratory “I just finished a creative project” steak.
But more than anything, it’s because it’s silly to fear it. You don’t let the world down by giving them an imperfect product (hint: everything’s imperfect…except for maybe Totoro). You only let yourself down when you hide it and are left with a slew of incomplete ideas that you hold to you like Gollum would the One Ring.
So finish things, because if nothing else you don’t want to be that sad, drunk person in the corner of the bar wailing that they could have been a star if only they had tried.
At the very least you could be that drunk person in the bar wailing about their mistakes. Because at least that person tried.
Or you could…you know…not harp on your mistakes and happily learn from them. But that is another blog entry.