Unfinished Projects

We all have them: unfinished projects cluttering our hard drives, taking up valuable physical storage space, stacked in the corner, piled on shelves, heaped in closets. Whether it’s incomplete canvasses, photography projects, incomplete stories or essays, unfinished musical compositions, or partially-realized sculptures, they all take up some sort of space and add clutter to our creative lives. As we begin to think about moving forward in the year, perhaps it’s time to address the issue of unfinished projects.

They exist for any number of reasons: in some cases, we simply ran dry or hit a wall, and decided to set them aside until we could have a new outlook. In other cases, we lost interest. In yet other cases, newer projects claimed our attention and we more or less forgot these that we left by the wayside. Whatever the reason, we left these projects uncompleted, but kept all the materials, “just in case…”

I am not suggesting that we need to complete all our unfinished projects or throw them out, but rather that we should review them—to determine which are still viable and which should be consigned to the trash. Actually, there are more gradations to our evaluation than just those two. We might review our incomplete projects and decide they go in one of several categories:

  • Finish this. Whatever has caused the incomplete nature of this project is no longer valid, or whatever has caused the lack of completion is no longer effective. We can see a path to the accomplishment of this project, so we should put in in the queue of projects scheduled for completion.
  • It needs more work. This type of project is not yet ready for full development, but might be put into a category of those that we work on in between other projects. Adding a little here, editing a little there, continuing the project, but not in full active mode.
  • Save the embryo. This project started with a solid idea, but the reasons it is incomplete far outweigh the good idea. The best thing that can be done is to salvage the idea and perhaps install it in another project that does not have the attendant problems; this will allow us to discard all the extraneous material, and, in effect, begin again.
  • Not yet. The idea is still solid, but the block to completion still exists. We can see where this project wanted to go and realize that the reason it has not gone forward is still valid and standing in the way of completion. This project goes back into storage for a time.
  • What was I thinking? This project was simply a bad idea from the outset and stopped for a reason, and whether the reason is still valid or not, the project itself is not worth the effort it would take to revive it. We can see if any of the pieces can be salvaged and perhaps recycled into other projects, either existing or future. The rest can be eliminated, allowing us to reclaim the storage space the project is taking up.

What we might do this year, and perhaps annually, is review our unfinished projects, categorizing them as noted above or according to whatever scheme we find useful. In this way we can reclaim both good ideas that just need further work, and space that could be put to better use. And we can unclutter our creative environment.

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Date: Sunday, 13. February 2022 17:27
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