My house is filling up with abandoned projects. I have drawers of old manuscripts that went nowhere, closets full of fabric that never made it to the sewing machine, stacks of books that haven’t been read yet, boxes of photos that haven’t gone into albums yet, half-painted canvases, and… Well, you get the idea.
The collection keeps growing because of Shiny New Project, which sometimes tempts me away from Old Troublesome. Does this ever happen to you?
This is the year that I’ve decided to take control (or at least get the upper hand). It’s the year of cleaning off my desk, as well as those closets and shelves. Once upon a time, those abandoned projects were all shiny and new. But then something happened to stop me. Was it because:
- the idea wasn’t good enough?
- the idea suddenly bored me?
- the idea presented a problem that I didn’t know how to work through–yet?
Last month I dug into my file cabinet, and much to my surprise, I found a novel I’d written that I’d completely forgotten I’d written. “Novel” is such a generous term for this manuscript. It’s a total mess. It’s a train wreck. That’s probably why I’d filed it away and then forgot about it. (What’s interesting is that I hadn’t forgotten about the two novels I wrote many years previously, before my first published one. They were learning tools, nothing more.)
But back to this train wreck. It wasn’t a learning tool when I wrote it. I’d simply abandoned it, probably because something easier and shinier happened along. While I was digging in the file cabinet, I also found a few other unfinished stories. I hadn’t forgotten about them; I’d just stopped working on them. I never thought about why. Maybe the time wasn’t right, and I didn’t know how to fix the mess. Maybe because of category #3 above.
Now I think I’ve figured out the problem that blocked me originally. I hadn’t realized before, but it turns out that all of those various, unfinished pieces actually belong together. My subconscious (aka “Fred”) had been working on the train wreck and kept trying to approach the problem in different ways–and failing.
Good old Fred never gives up. Now Fred has an answer and has been patiently waiting for me to catch up. I can’t wait to see how it goes. Old Troublesome has become the New Shiny!
Do you have abandoned projects, and if so, what do you do with them?