I am a starter.
I am not a finisher.
I have fabric and patterns; I have stacks of cardboard in my garage; I have plans drawn in notebooks; I have lists; I have ideas.
What I don't have are about seven dresses, three skirts, a cardboard sculpture of a tree, and/or upholstered storage boxes in my entryway.
I bought a book once because I didn't quite feel in control of my house. There was too much clutter, too many projects, too much stuff. I can't even remember the title. It was something like Mission: Organization. In the introduction, the author said, "The key to organization is finishing things."
I closed the book.
(I haven't finished it.)
I realized that was the skill I needed to figure out first. Before I could organize anything, I had to figure out how to finish things.
I'm pleased to say I'm getting better, but I still stink at finishing.
Take writing, for instance. I have been writing seriously for five years.
And I have yet to finish a novel.
(I did finish two picture books, though. I've got to throw bones to myself when I can.)
Why is it taking so long?
The reasons are many and varied. We all have our reasons, I'm sure, and some are perfectly legitimate.
However, I've realized this writing . . . thing, for lack of a better word, is something I want.
It won't leave me alone.
The words in my current WIP don't come easily. I have to drag them out of myself and shake them loose from my fingers--and it feels like half of the text is highlighted for me to come back and fix.
I will finish my book someday.
I will overlook the fabric and cardboard and notebooks of plans and look instead at the things I have finished: two skirts and two aprons and a blanket and a dress and a cabinet and some bookcases. And two children's books!
I do finish things.
It just takes me awhile.
I haven't written much through the summer; vacation and kids and gardens and a residential schedule and a new calling have made my schedule erratic to say the least. I kept a notebook tucked in my purse, though, and jotted things down when I was waiting for the dentist or sitting by the drain (my 4-year-old's current obsession). Not much, really, just a sentence here or there.
When I went to type it into my computer the other day, I was shocked and pleased to see the word count reach almost 1500 words.
If, over a couple of months, I can write 1500 words while not writing, how many could I write when I'm really trying?
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
I'll let you know when I'm finished.