I used to hate September and the coming of Fall. When I was younger it marked the beginning of school and another year of homework. Though I was always itching to see my friends again and return to the routine, it signaled the end of summer and fun. In University it was worse. As soon as school started it was back to the weekly grind of classes, weekly assignments, homework and late nights.
The one thing I did like was the idea of starting something new. I loved getting my notebooks, my pencils, my backpack and everything all set up for the new school year. Everything had possibility and you can imagine all the great things you're going to learn and do. But then the day-to-day hit and there were deadlines, homework and never enough time to do anything. Once school started going, all the promise of the beginning seemed to disappear.
Every time I start something new or get a new project I'm immediately so pumped and excited. I imagine all the possibilities and am so inspired. Once the project gets rolling, it's about getting things done and staying afloat. Somewhere along the way I left the inspiration and enthusiasm behind. If I take a minute to think about what I'm doing and what I'm working on–the big picture–it comes back, but the problem is that I rarely take that moment. And I've realized that taking that moment makes all the difference.
As a self-confessed perfectionist, I'm trying to keep my perfectionist mindset in check by taking that moment to look at the big picture. It's not about what I imagined or the promise of the beginning. It's about seeing something through to the end and realizing that it is done. If I always stand at the edge of the boat and never dive in or turn around as soon as I hit that water, I'll never know all the beauty that lies underneath the surface.
I've left so many half-baked personal projects because it was different than what I pictured at the beginning. And that makes me lose momentum. But usually they're different because what I imagined doesn't work in real life. In reality, the initial designs or illustrations needed to change for it to be better and more effective. I realize this now. Until now, I've dwelled on the fact that it looks different and I stop mid-way through the project because of it. I don't do this with client projects because there are deadlines and expectations and that helps me push through. That motivation to push through on a personal project is much harder to find because the brief is open ended. It's your project. It's whatever you make it out to be. But I don't want to leave these things behind anymore. I don't want to have these ideas and not see them through, even if they're different than what I initially imagined. It's not about the beginning and the excitement that comes with the promise of something. It's about seeing that promise through to the end and getting things done. When I do accomplish something it's the best feeling in the world. I need to step back mid-way through a project and remember that feeling to help me push to the end. Because I've realized that finishing something is way more important than creating something perfect, because let's be honest, there is no such thing as perfect.