Learning from endings

I’ve finished the rewrite of my script.

And I’ve learned so much about endings as I’ve approached this one. It’s a different scenario from the usual drill of having a forced, external deadline. This one has been entirely internally motivated. There’s no due date, there’s no have-to.

Look at the pony show

And the fancy tricks I started to pull at the end were very creative. Hilarious, in point of fact.

As soon as I could “see” the end — when I had it in my sights and knew it was only a matter of about 10 to 15 pages to get there, my insides got all squirrely. I decided I wanted to finish it right then, even if it took me the rest of the day.

When reality struck and I realized I had other work that had to come first (I am running a business here), I found myself wanting to postpone working on it again until I had a Long Block of Time to write (the precise opposite of what I recommend). What a joke! I got myself back onto my regular, moderate, well-paced schedule of 30 minutes a day pretty quickly once I caught on to the dog-and-pony show my inner critic was putting on.

I also found that my inner critic fired up a whole new level of criticism — she’s been pulling out all the stops, laying it on fast and thick, “It’s not as good as the last draft. You’ve wasted your time, it’s still no better. This still isn’t marketable.”

Good thing I know better than to listen to all that.

Creative expression is deeply vulnerable

Here’s what I also know to be true — part of me IS scared, and that’s okay. I just can’t — and won’t — let it stop me. I only need to acknowledge it and move on. It’s a big deal, after all, bringing something into being. It’s bound to stir up fear and vulnerability.

Shame researcher Brené Brown says that there’s nothing more vulnerable than creating something that has never existed before.

She’s right.

I’ve also heard it described as being like taking down your pants, in public, very… very… slowly.

It’s no wonder so many of us hesitate when it comes to completing our work.

It’s all about the fear — and the old wounds

So many of us have been so wounded around our creative expression, it’s no wonder we hold back when it comes to “shipping.”

Shipping, in case you’re wondering, means completing and delivering our work, whether it’s a website, book, ebook, script, painting, or widget.

I can’t tell you how many people I see never shipping their work, full of excuses, not realizing it’s really fear that’s stopping them. (If you want help keeping your fear and doubt from stopping you, my new mentoring programs will help. More on that next week.)

It happens with so many different kinds of projects — getting almost to the completion point and then deciding we’re “stuck” or “bored.” Websites that never go live. Ebooks that never get published. Scripts that languish in endless revisions.

It’s all just smoke and mirrors

Stuck is a smokescreen for fear.

Bored is a smokescreen for fear.

The fact is, we are terrified. Getting to the end of a project stirs up all our issues around being seen, heard, scrutinized, read, listened to, failing, succeeding.

But in the end, isn’t it better to try?

Brené Brown brought this quote from Theodore Roosevelt to my attention, “It is not the critic who counts. It is not the man who sits and points out how the doer of deeds could have done things better and how he falls and stumbles. The credit goes to the man in the arena whose face is marred with dust and blood and sweat. But when he’s in the arena, at best he wins, and at worst he loses, but when he fails, when he loses, he does so daring greatly.”

I’d much rather try and “fail” then never to try at all.

Your turn

I’d love to hear from you. What’s your experience with completion? Do you keep going until the end? Waffle? Run out of steam? Get bored? Are you daring greatly? Dipping in a toe or diving in? Does the fear of failing stop you?



Coming Attractions

~> March 8th at 11 a.m. Pacific — Mark your calendar! If you enjoyed my Creative Productivity TeleClass Series and you’re wondering about the next steps to put what you learned into practice, you’ll want to join me for this free information call next week. I’ll walk you through identifying your next steps and fill you in about details about how I can support you along the way through my 1:1 mentoring programs. More information on its way soon! Watch your inbox for details about how to sign up.

~> March 21st: Register for the next Writer’s Circle session. Register by March 21st for the next session of my Writer’s Circle (starts March 25th). Build a solid habit of daily writing and finish all your writing projects: http://JustDoTheWriting.com. We’re running four groups of fantastic writers right now and it’s a ton of fun. Come join us!


What I'm Up To

~> Daily. Working on rewriting my script, Progeny, with my mentor Chris Soth after finishing the ProSeries. Just about done!

~> Reading How to Speak Dragonese with my son. Finished ScriptShadow Secrets* by Carson Reevesa great one!


Thanks for reading.


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Design small solutions

I’ve learned to closely examine my tripping points to look for solutions.

By tripping points I mean the places in my routine where I fail to see something through to completion, whether it’s a household task, a writing project, or a personal phone call I’m just not making.

Tripping points can occur at any point in the continuum of a project or task, from start to finish.

Tripping points lead to incompletion

As I’ve studied my own process and observed my clients as well, what I’ve found is that we collectively have a tendency to either skip over key steps or fail to think through the full process.

Both of these have the same result: incompletion.

Find a higher thought

I think the inception of this exploration began back in my 20s when I was working with a therapist and I used to write my checks to her at the end of the session. There was always an awkward moment, waiting for me to do so. One day she said to me, “Other clients write out checks in advance.”

It was a new thought, something I hadn’t considered. I even realized that I was drawing out the time with her by waiting to write the checks at the end. I vowed to change my pattern right away. From that day forward, I always arrived with check in hand and had the matter settled from the start.

The tiniest things make a big difference

When it comes to getting things done, I’ve learned that the tiniest things make a big difference many times over. With my writing, for example, if the computer is right next to me when I wake up, I’m much more likely to work on my script right away — particularly if I’ve closed my email program before lights out the night before.

Mind you, I’m not always perfect about everything (thank goodness, or my inner rebel would freak out) but it’s highly useful to know the tricks that will get me into action. That said, I still have some lingering items (that darn video!) that need work.

The 2 second rule

I read recently (I wish I could remember where, if you know please tell me) about a guy who wanted to read more but was always turning on the television instead of picking up a book. His solution was to take the batteries out of his television remote control, making it just that much harder (2 seconds harder) to turn on the TV — and he found himself reading a lot more.

I’ve seen writers in my Writer’s Circle do similar things — making sure their writing materials are at the ready so that when they wake up, it’s easy to get started.

I’ve heard about a virtual assistant who keeps post-it notes on her fridge to track her hours and to do items so it’s extra easy to jot it down rather than having to dig out her work notebook.

I keep magnetic note pads on my refrigerator and have a system for keeping my pantry filled: If something gets taken out of the pantry, it goes on the list. We always have an extra bottle of ketchup that way. (Good thing with little kids around, and in earthquake country to boot.)

Your turn

How could you apply this idea to make getting something done easier? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.




Coming Attractions


~> October 4th. My next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group. SOLD OUT. http://LifePurposeBreakthrough.com

~> October 25th. Register by October 25th for the next 4-week session of my “Just Do The Writing” Accountability Circle (starts October 29th). Looking to feel passionate again about your writing? You must write to get there: http://JustDoTheWriting.com


What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Working on rewriting my script, Progeny, with my mentor Chris Soth after finishing the ProSeries.*

~> Sacred writing time. My schedule is in flux right now but I’m writing regularly nonetheless.

~> Reading: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows with my son — so close to finishing now! I think we’re going to read Eragon next. Or maybe Narnia, or The Belgariad. I can’t wait. I’m deeply enthralled by Homeland, finally saw the finale of Weeds (weird), and I’m so happy Castle is back on the air. *Grin*


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