Way back before Thanksgiving, I wrote a post about my tendency to start projects, but not finish them right away. I had three projects that I wanted to finish that week, and asked for a "Huzzah!" if I accomplished them. Oh dear, you weren't holding your breath were you? I did finish attaching the staircase treads, and finished painting the dresser. The third project, finishing the last bit of bathroom paint, was delayed by a need to do some mud work on one wall (now done, and to silky perfection, I might add), at about which time an unexpected order for a 60 foot long mural came in.
|Painting this dresser stalled several times, partly because I was doing it for myself, and for some reason decided painting in a quicker style to meet an arbitrary deadline was more important than painting something I really wanted to paint. When I dropped the deadline, the composition finally pulled together.|
So, the bathroom paint has had to wait, while I work on the mural, along with all the little custom Christmas orders that arrive this time of year. I missed my very publicly announced deadline, but it's caused me to look closer at this habit of unfinished projects. Mostly, I've noticed that if a project is interesting, I will do it right away, and not procrastinate at all. Duh, I know, but what if that's all there is to it?
|Remember Nancye Williams bottles from Wednesday? I did not procrastinate on trying this project myself. In fact, I stayed up late that night, then got up early Thursday morning to have time to finish details before starting my work day. Did I have plenty of important work to do this week? Yup, but unless one counts hosting five open house events in six days "time off", I hadn't actually had any down time in weeks. All work (even fun work) and no (non-commissioned) play makes me a cranky girl.|
I've spent more than forty years fighting this "deficiency", trying to fix what's wrong with me, namely what appears to be a childish insistence
on doing only the fun bits. This diagnosis is unfair, though. I will
do what truly needs doing, no matter how hard, as evidenced by the roof repair on the balcony, and the speed with which I can change a flat tire. I'll sit patiently through the most tedious days of painting thousands of individual leaves, as evidenced by my kitchen paint job, to finish something I'm passionate about. I'll work extra unpaid hours on a client's job, no matter what, to get the details right, when that's the right thing to do. So I'm making an early New Year's resolution to quit scolding myself for unfinished projects, and instead find ways to avoid the pitfall altogether.
|This decanter holds "Heart's Ease", according to its label. Looks like white glitter, seashells and ephemera inside this collage of snippets and bits to me, but anything filled with faerie dust must be magical, no?|
This means I will consider whether my heart is fully into a project before I begin. I will try harder to find ways to hire others, through trade or re-prioritizing finances, to do the things I know I don't want to do, but truly want done (bookkeeping, window washing, weeding the garden...hey, not just talking theoretical here, wanna trade?!). I will set realistic time frames on the not-fun things I can't avoid, rather than trying to force myself to stay up 'til all hours, just to finish checking things off of the infinite list of Things-Not-Yet-Completed
. I will give myself credit and approval for all the things I do
get done in a week, instead of acting like a sadistic drill sergeant with an endless list of dreary marching orders, and then reacting like the conscientious objector who got drafted into the daily grind.
|"Essence of Time"|
As a hyper-creative soul, I will never
have enough hours to finish everything that presents itself to be done in this lifetime, so I think rather than another forty-plus years of berating my "irresponsible imperfection", I'll try to be mindful to choose paths I truly wish to walk, so when the snow needs shoveled, or the stones re-set, I won't mind these occasional "absolutely must do" projects that sidetrack me from the more interesting parts of the journey.
honor the fact that it's actually my somewhat childlike view of the world that creates the art that pays my bills, and reward myself indulgently for tackling the must-dos that simply cannot be avoided. On a week that's not so full of deadlines for clients, the last twenty square feet of bathroom paint will be the perfect project for an afternoon with an audio book, after which I will enjoy it's beauty, then schedule some playtime, to celebrate the completion.
|"Wildness of Joy" which I must admit is a phrase I saw once on another artist's work, but can't remember who to credit it to.|
I've decided to discard the misleading label. I'm not a procrastinator, after all, just a hyper-creative artist soul, with not one precious moment to waste on feeling like the mountain of unfinished shoulds is about to avalanche. Even at it's longest, life is pretty darned short. For the love of the Creator, (who, as far as I know, pronounced it "Very Good", not "Finished"...and then took a break
) create a way to work happy!
Once I finish Christmas orders, the sixty foot mural, and one faux finished dining room, I expect to still have some working time available in January before my next big project starts. If you are thinking of having me do something for you late in the month, now is the time to talk to me. My portfolio and all the info on how to hire me is at theartofthehome.com
Questions or comments? Leave them below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. FYI: on the bottles, all the paper bits are glued on with basic Elmer's, and all the shells and fabric trims were attached with hot glue. The stopper for "Heart's Ease" is a chandelier drop style Christmas ornament, available on clearance right now at stores like TJMaxx, Marshalls, Michaels, and probably Target.