Why Can’t I Finish?
By Susan H. Lawrence
Writers sometimes struggle so much with finishing the project, they stall with the start. Or, they start, but they can’t quite bring themselves to finish. The project goes on and on, sits in the computer, continually gets reworked, or stalls in the to-do lists.
Knowing the why behind issues with finishing or starting won’t automatically fix the problem, but it will help you recognize where you are and what you need to get beyond in order to start…or finish.
Perfectionism. Unless you can produce something exactly the way you imagined it to be with no mistakes or misunderstandings, you don’t want to share it…which means, you’ll never share it. The only person who can create something that’s perfect is a perfect person, which you’re not. It’s okay to have high expectations, but don’t expect yourself to do the impossible.
Negative thinking. Perhaps you think you can’t get accomplish what you want. You’re not gifted enough, talented enough, worthy enough. You’re not well-enough connected or well-enough prepared. You don’t have enough time or resources. No matter how you much you grow and accomplish, you pay more attention to the empty half of the glass than the full half. Build on what you have, even if it seems like it’s only a few drops.
Distractions. Do you think you lack time to get done what you want? What about Facebook, Instagram, email, and Words with Friends? Consider the possibility you’re not using your time as well as you can. Manage your distractions better. Get focused.
Encouragement. Maybe you don’t have anyone encouraging you. Perhaps people closest to you are actually discouraging you. But are you really looking for encouragement? Perhaps you’re not getting it from certain people, but it comes through surprising sources. Don’t put conditions on the encouragement you receive. Don’t let your pride or fear stop you from reaching out and asking for support.
Accountability. One of the best ways someone can encourage you is by helping you stay accountable to your goals. You won’t meet every goal; no one does. But when you fall short, it’s helpful to admit it and hit the reset button. Ask someone to check in with you regularly. Hand off small pieces of your writing for feedback. Yielding a little at a time is much less daunting than sharing and getting feedback on an entire project.
Start somewhere today. Consider what’s holding you back. Is it really worth the damage it might be causing? Getting stuck and not finishing—or not starting—isn't just about your writing. It’s about your life.
Susan Lawrence is a women’s ministry consultant who also partners with women with writing goals. She speaks around the country, has written multiple Bible studies and devotionals, and blogs daily. If you’d like to start a conversation with her about your writing goals or other ministry needs, connect with her on PurePurpose.org.