Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Half-Baked Projects: Is it Done Yet?

A half-baked cupcake is not tasty. No one wants a cupcake that looks good on the outside and yet is raw in the inside. What good is it to have all the ingredients there and not to have a fully baked cupcake?

Half-done design projects are similarly unsatisfying, the pieces may be there but it doesn’t quite “work” yet. I have quite a few personal design projects that are half-done; they often start off well enough but with time I slowly lose my motivation and sometimes months will pass with no new progress. Every so often I’ll actually forget about a project and then suddenly remember it, and then look upon it with fresh eyes [and sometimes wonder, “What was I thinking?” Perhaps I wasn’t thinking at all. (Sigh.)].

One of the worst things is to be stalled in the design process, because it’s like pedaling on a stationary bike, you’re putting in lots of effort and getting nowhere—and that’s just exhausting. So it’s good to get some perspective on half-done projects, and time away can help you see the flaws as well as the possibilities. It can move you in a different direction or trigger a whole new idea that sparks a renewed sense of motivation to complete a project.

Yet, sometimes my inability to finish my half-done projects is my own fault because I get distracted with shiny new ideas. The new ideas tend to take precedent (for at least a little while)—since inspiration is motivation. And I’ll continue to work on a new project until it too reaches a point where I hit a mental wall, and then I can go back to my older projects and work on them again. A half-baked project doesn’t leave a good taste in my mouth, so I try to finish them…eventually. 

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