How to finish a thing

Hi there doomscrollers! 📜😱

You know those half-done side projects you've done, those tutorial apps you made but then did nothing with. Those codepens, replits, jsfiddles. They have all served their purpose. You learned a thing. You spent some time coding. You can let them go.

Think of a jogger when they are about to go for a long trip. They do stretches, exercises, running in place. All those projects you've played with are just like that. They helped you get “warmed up” and that's cool. You don't see a jogger upset that they're running in place didn't get them anywhere do you? Even if you fully intended to create the next “Big Thing”. You even got a domain name. Yes, I have been there too. It's ok. These are more like swimming laps. You are figuring yourself out. Seeing what you want to do and you learned from them. Failure is not a bad thing in this respect. You did an experiment and got a result. You can then harvest that code, or those experiences and go farther then before. Or maybe you see you should start smaller. The point is stop thinking about that backlog of stuff you've done as “failures” or “waiting to get done” or “if only I had more time?”.

Stop that. 🛑

They are your trophies 🏆 of work done in the past. Put them down, free up your head. What new thing will you start TODAY? It will be better because of all your past stuff. The spirit of those past projects, tutorials, etc. will live on in your next thing. If you feel like you are just spinning your wheels 🚗, here's some tips:

1) Make something small, but complete. 🎆

You will feel better. Even if it's just a doodle or a index.html file.

2) Be purposeful. 💭

Every little project should point you toward something. It's a stepping stone. Let it be in some direction.

3) Play. 🕹

Some of my best ideas come from just playing around. I didn't know SVG could do half the amazing stuff it can do. This is the opposite of 2) and those two opposing forces is where real creativity comes.

4) Put everything in one place. 📦

Make a github repo of your random stuff. Put it in a gdrive. Have a shelf for your clay projects. The point is if they are all together you can see physically how much progress you are making.

5) Share. 🤝

Did you make a thing? Great! I want to see it! So would other folks! You might inspire someone else. They might (steal) borrow your code, music, or theme. Sharing brings that level of “I must do this” a little higher. And it helps you find like minded people or “fans”

6) When it's done, it's DONE. ✈

When you finish a thing, unless it's something you want to keep building on , then put it away.

You need to learn from it, then let it fly away free to give you head space.

7) Write about it. 📝

You did a thing. Whoo! What did you learn? How did it make you feel? What would you do differently next time? Writing about stuff helps imprint what you learned in your head, it helps to share, it helps you with your voice, and sometimes you might discover aspects of the thing you overlooked when you were so close to it. Writing is good. Write. A lot.

8) Guilt free. 😄

Maybe you weren't happy with that sketch, or you got busy and didn't finish it. It's NO BIG DEAL. It's in the past now. It's purpose fulfilled. Do not let it become baggage or an anchor. Use it to help drive insights into yourself. Why did you not finish it? Are you super busy? OK what can I do to work around that? Maybe I have issues with finishing things? Ok. Why would that be? Feeling like an imposter? Self sabotage? The point is even our “failures” or “half-dones” can be windows into how we work. If we let them give us insights into ourselves, then their value is beyond measure.

9) Do something different. 🎭

You like making React apps? Working with watercolors? Try doing something different. That “other” ness will spark your creative side and put you in a slightly uncomfortable place. That's a GOOD THING. Your brain loves novelty.

You will discover * what is different about this? * how is it the same? * can I make generalizations? * this is kinda cool? * this sucks, and now I know that...


10) Have FUN. 🎉

If you aren't having fun doing a thing. Stop doing that thing. Especially as side projects. You hate Java? Stop and try out... Python! Or you hate doing tutorials. Maybe write one! Or get a mentor and talk! The point is – having fun will energize you and help you finish those (side project) things. So above all, relax. Put away the guilt. And go make something fun!

(See what I did here? I made a thing! I had fun! I wrote about it! I did something different [added emojis]. I put it in the same place [ ]. And finished it! )