Friday, September 23, 2011

We have tons of things in common as humans. Most of us desire to make something big of ourselves, sleep in for 'just a couple more minutes', love cake or pie, and procrastinate to the point of saying, "Why bother?"

If you are anything like me and every other dreamer, our road to our dreams have a good dose of roadblocks, unfinished paving, the occasional bridge missing across a raging river, just your normal everyday stuff. But like all humans, we expect instant results just for getting on the road, or we get frustrated when we get past that first roadblock only to see that the rest of the road didn't turn into a magically perfectly paved road wheeling us to our goal with no effort. Kind of like a horse turning into a unicorn. You gotta mate with a couple thousand narwhals before the gene passes through (this is why a unicorn has not been created yet.)

Does that mean it's time for you to throw in the towel and sulk in the corner as you contemplate your life-long job of fast food chains and shoveling non-unicorn horse dung? Absolutely not. Take it from the queen of procrastination and avoidance when I say that it ain't over 'til it's over, Johnny. If you're stuck on that pile of muck, I've provided a few tips below that typically work for me, and who knows? Maybe they'll work for you too!

-Breathe. If you're looking at your project as, "OMG I HAVE TO WRITE AT LEAST NINE PAGES TO PASS MY SENIOR PROJECT I'M DOOMED WHERE'S CAKE?!" nothing, yes NOTHING, will get done. In my family I'm infamously known as the only child who could stay up three hours before school and whip out an A- project behind my back like flowers from a magician. But I didn't do it by having mini-heart-attacks. I breathed. A lot. Then I broke down the project into smaller, less scary chunks. Finish one page, ten minutes of random dancing to save my numb butt. Finish a second page, eat a handful of delicious goldfish, etc.

-Do it all in one night? How about no. Even I couldn't complete some things in one night flat and expect them to be amazing (or remotely completed.) If what you're working on is huge, you have to take it day-by-day. Example; I'm a Harry Potter fanatic, and for the opening of DH1 in theaters, I decided to make my own Ravenclaw robe identical to the movie versions. From scratch. No previous sewing knowledge, no idea how to read patterns. The chances of me successfully breeding a new species of mold in my room was much more likely to happen. After following the first tip for a few hours between reading up on sewing online, I pushed myself to buy the fabric, measure, cut, and sew on some machine from the mid-70s every day for two months. The end result? A fully finished robe cheaper than anywhere online!

-Balance, balance, balance. You can't just say, "I'm gonna go do _______ now, see you guys in a few months!" The downside of being creative is that we have lives, you know, that things that involves family, friends, Facebook, Twitter, forums and more? As much as we'd all love to crawl into a hole for a few months and emerge victorious, we can't. But that doesn't mean you can't do it! Find time (preferably also your 'sweet spot') to perfect your project at hand. Mine is a cross between breaks at work and anywhere from 11pm-3am. For you it might be when the kids nap or right after an episode of Friends you HAVE to see everyday to feel complete.

What about you? Do you have any tips to share or an experience with a big project that almost made you 'throw in the towel'? Share with us in the comment box below!


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