Beginnings are good, but the follow-through?

I love beginnings, full of possibilities and options. And somewhere in the middle of things I get bogged down, bored or stressed, and I’m realizing it’s because I often spend too much time on the beginnings, leaving all possibilities open. I re-took the Myers-Briggs personality test last year and it really opened my eyes to this aspect of my personality. (I’m a classic, off-the-charts INFP.)

I am primarily a writer, but I’m a historian, an art critic, an armchair designer, a gardener–so topically, I could never limit my blog. That’s why I couldn’t imagine being a “fashion blogger” or “craft blogger” or “film blogger”. I worry I might bog down readers, because my obsessions and skills are so wide and varied. (I have spared you, so far, from my still-in-draft entries on Marshall McLuhan and his media theories). I can’t help but chase down my whims, research them endlessly, and write about them.

On a friend’s advice, I’ve decided that I need to narrow down the beginnings of things. Not to take away the joy of project-visioning, but to take small mental notes of the rabbit trails that interest me, and narrow down the possibilities to a few into which I can actually cut a road.

When I am beginning a project, one of my biggest challenges is to write down all the “options” that come into my head. If I don’t, somewhere along the way, the “curiouser” takes hold and I start following those trails, almost forgetting where I started. By writing them down I’m taking note of their appearance. They get the pleasure of being seen and then thrown away or filed for another day rather than being a lingering “what if?” I’m taking this challenge seriously; it requires a new level of organization and a willingness to be a brutal editor. Almost every area of my life needs this editing.

I think this is why I suddenly got excited about taking on my Winter Coat Project. It’s something I can do on a micro-scale that teaches me better habits in the macro. I can actually eliminate gazillions of fabric photos that I have open on my browser, I can limit myself to ordering five swatches and just say goodbye to the rest. I can take pleasure in imagining five possibilities rather than, oh, TWENTY. (You have no idea what is going on on my side of the browser.)

In the process, even just choosing that project forces me to eliminate about 10 others that I have been half starting or thinking about starting. Close those browser tabs, baby. If it sells out, it sells out. Someone else will have the pleasure of following that rabbit.

2 comments

  1. mjb says:

    I’m an INTJ, and part of my personality type is to be so idea-driven that I never actually DO anything. So I have to buckle down and complete something sometimes, so I’m not just talking about all the cool things I could be doing. On the other hand, I just listened to Megan Reardon of notmartha.org on the CraftSanity podcast, and I was encouraged by her philosophy of blogging which is not to worry about the category of her blog and to just post what she wants. I have a couple blogs now because I was afraid of posting different types of content, but I’m still not covering it all. My friends in real life know I have a variety of interests, why can’t there be online friends that understand the same concept? Or do blogs really have to be like magazines that are single-focused?

    • Amy says:

      Hi mjp–Thanks for visiting! I completely understand the “not covering it all”; I feel like that all the time. I’d love to listen to that podcast!

      When blogs first started, they weren’t so specialized. I like the idea of accepting that there are other online readers who are as renaissance as my real life friends. 🙂

      Even though I have started and designed blogs for groups or friends in the last 10 years, I never actually wanted to be a blogger myself because I worried that I would either 1. overwhelm readers or 2. be unable to keep up with comments. (When comments were first introduced on Blogger, the introvert in me said, “no way!”)

      But it’s been really refreshing starting this for myself to see where it goes. I still can’t help but have other blogs–I’ve got a whole gardening blog, too!

      Amy

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