Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Nothing to fear except fear itself

My, what big teeth you have, Tanzania, January 2009

Paul Butzi and Gordon McGregor have been writing about completion inertia. Anita Jesse had a good post about general project inertia. I thought I'd chip in my bit.

I'm like Gordon and Paul - like to get going, prove stuff can be done, extract the goodness and move on. I'm not a completer by any means. Starting, however, is never a problem.

Here's my thinking: if it's not going to kill me or land me in jail, pretty much anything is worth a try. Certainly a photographic project has few negative consequences if it fails. If I have confidence in my abilities to do something, then I have confidence to get on with it. That confidence comes from proving to myself I have all the individual skill elements, I just need to bolt them together. So far, so good.

I've learnt that to complete stuff, I need to make the end run easy on myself. Line everything up ready for a quick blast for the finish line. In photography terms that means severl things. Knowing I have enough material for the project, being decisive in selecting and editing - first impressions, good is good enough - and a fairly mechanistic means of completing a layout (for a simple layout, I can go from list of selected photos to compeleted book in a couple of hours). Planning is key - lining things up for an easy effort. that bit i'm pretty good at.

thus my key strategies for getting projects done: having confidence in my ability to do the thing and clearing the path for an easy finish. This is a similar strategy I apply in my day job and it gets me past the main slow points.

To close, another from FDR:
Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another. But by all means, try something.


  1. It certainly is interesting to explore the difficulties encountered in completing a project. I notice that the refrain "easy to start" is often repeated. Your third paragraph, in particular, is a gem and the title of the post says it all, doesn't it?

  2. I'll echo the other comment. Third paragraph is gold


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