I’ve found it quite hard to make any progress on my current projects, specifically my short story “Felix” and my movie “The Barrier”. I made no progress to speak of over the last couple months. My top priority has been my wife’s health. That isn’t the reason for my lack of progress though. I haven’t felt much enthusiasm for the projects. I think that once I get back to the projects in a serious way, I’ll generate some enthusiasm, but it is hard to get started.
I’ve run into this same type of barrier in the past and often I’ve abandoned projects to focus on others that I find of greater interest. One of the problems I have had is that I try to work on too many projects at once and, as a result, make no progress on any of them. That forced me to abandon several projects.
This week I did a review of the various writing and movie projects I’ve started and those I’ve completed. I came up with about 130 projects that I started, of which I have completed 25. That means that I’ve abandoned almost 3 of every 4 projects I started. That sounds bad, but it was actually better than I expected before I started.
Not all of my abandoned projects went to waste. I was sometimes able to reuse some of the ideas in other projects I did later. Also, I found that I learned from each project, even if I didn’t finish it.
In my mind I think of abandonment as a failure, but that may be the wrong way to think about it. For example, years ago I saw an interview with Paul McCartney, where he said he often wouldn’t write down a song at first. He felt that if he couldn’t remember it later, then maybe it wasn’t a song worth keeping. If I can’t get excited about the projects I work on, why would I expect people others to find them worth their time.
People do say that the hard work of writing is in the rewrite, and a rewrite can make a huge improvement in the final product. I know that this has worked for me in the past. All the same, I do think that some projects should be abandoned. You’ll never have the time to follow up all of the ideas you have, so why waste time on your weaker ideas.
I must admit that I am at something of a loss to say which projects I should drop. I have noticed that now and then, a project will take on a life of its own. That doesn’t always happen right away, but, once it does, the project becomes much easier to do.