Have you ever started a big project and lost steam midway through it?
Lots of times.
If you’ve ever written a book or developed a course, you know what I mean.
If you’re looking for hope to carry on, I’ll offer you some in this post.
First, let’s look at what’s keeping you from finishing.
The finish line is 10,000 miles away.
This isn’t so threatening in the beginning.
Go a few weeks into your project and that light at the other end starts flickering like a candle that’s about to go out.
You can’t see a glimmer that’s weeks or months away.
So you entertain giving up.
Then you might stop completely.
Besides, who will care?
The people you’re here to help will, that’s who.
This is harder than I thought it would be.
This one will sink your ship when it’s in the middle of the ocean and your life raft has a gaping hole in it.
When something seems impossible, you have two choices.
You can keep pushing through. Or you can let the waves of resistance swallow you up and spit you out on the deserted island of failed attempts.
What trips us here is that we think the thing we create has to be perfect.
It doesn’t, because it can’t be.
Settle for good enough and move on. Do your best. Finish it.
The information isn’t revolutionary.
Maybe not to you.
When you see something over and over, you ignore it. You think it doesn’t matter. But that’s just your perspective.
We all have built-in spam filters.
Shooting baskets can be boring and repetitious. But when you’re in front of the net at the championship game, and victory is on the line, you’ll be glad you practiced.
What’s boring and unrevolutionary to you might change someone’s life forever.
Finish it and share it.
Now let’s look at what’s worth finishing.
It’s worth sharing if it brings change.
Nonfiction writers are by nature self-help writers.
That probably sounds too narrow. But why do you share your work? Here are a few reasons:
- The facts you’ve uncovered will reveal a new way to think about an issue.
- You’ve cracked the code that leads to success in something your audience wants to do.
- You’ve learned a lesson the hard way and want to save others the pain you’ve experienced.
Every good writer is committed to serving her readers. She writes to improve their day, their lives, or their careers.
One piece I wrote a few months ago did this. It addressed the guilt we all feel when we don’t write every day like our mentors tell us. You can read it here:
The one thing that will make you a great writerlink.medium.com
Will you deny people the change they seek by not finishing your work?
You’ll face boredom along the way.
Repetitive tasks can become boring.
Even creative ones.
We have this romantic notion that sitting down to write is a mystical experience. It can be, but much of the time it’s just a chance to put down on paper what’s been floating around in your mind.
How exciting that is depends on what you’ve been thinking about.
One easy way to jazz things up is to inject emotion into it. What’s exciting about this whole thing?
- Will you make some money when it’s done?
- Will you be respected as an industry expert once you finish?
- Will you create opportunities to help people that didn’t exist before you finished?
These ideas may seem mundane, but they are excellent motivators. If you can’t do it for yourself anymore, do it for the people whose lives will improve because of your work.
They’re waiting, and they’re counting on you.
Turn boredom into service and finish.
If you quit too soon, you’re irresponsible.
Unless you’re creating this book, course, or blog post for yourself, you have a responsibility to your future users.
Sure. Somebody else may do what you were doing. But they won’t do it the way you will. They won’t reach the same people you can. And they won’t add those special touches that are your signature.
Art isn’t meant to be private. It’s meant to be appreciated, experienced, and make an impact.
If you want to make a living with your passion, you’ll need to finish lots of things. You’ll risk being ridiculed for sharing. You won’t please everyone, and you can’t. You just need to show up where your people are and make noise.
But not just any noise. Make it align with the story they’re telling themselves about themselves. Challenge them to think differently and make a difference. Show them what’s possible and do it in ways they can grasp and take action upon.
When you finish and ship, everyone wins.
You’ve gone down that long road.
You’ve faced the inevitable boredom and done the work anyway.
You’ve felt your heart race as you reach the finish line and break through the ribbon.
Now it’s time to share that excitement with the world.
Just remember that no one cares about your win unless it’s theirs, too. Focus on how this all fits into their story and gives them an exciting next chapter to experience.
What you’re really doing is handcrafting keys to open the locks your customers want opened.
Do that and you’ll change the world for the people you serve.