Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why some of my projects don’t push through

All my life, I constantly question myself, my actions, my environment. I constantly ask that as a child, I was nicknamed “Ms. Tanong” (tanong means  “question” in my country’s national language) by a carpenter who once worked on my uncle’s audio equipment cabinet. I just ask so much it probably annoyed people. I even sometimes exhaust myself doing so haha!

But the point of this post really is how I realized why some of my planned projects never got done, or even started with. When I come up with an idea, I usually get super, hyper, uber excited about it because firstly, the idea was never done before (or if it was, I had no idea it’s already being implemented somewhere by someone  –  I’m never a fan of copying ideas). I get excited when I imagine the results – I could see the products so clearly in my mind! I get excited because I now have an excuse to buy new materials! I get excited because there are so many new ideas coming. All these ideas are so exciting, but not all of them get materialized. Some just fizzle out in the corner; even forgotten.

I eventually started asking myself why can’t I just start those other projects? Why can’t I just grab the first few materials and create a prototype? Why don’t I even try?
To try to answer one of these crazy questions I impose on myself all day in most of my days, I listed all the projects that I can’t just get myself to start working on. I have ebook titles lined up, publication projects planned, clothing designs on my sketchbook, miniature items all listed up, dioramas, doll accessories, and probably many others that I have forgotten already. I then realized that these all have one thing in common – over the course of developing the ideas for these projects, they eventually morphed into projects designed to boost my ego. The realization that these projects eventually became tools to earn more, primarily, made them less and less exciting as time passed by. The more I think about designing the project for it to eventually sell, the more indifferent I grew for it. The more I design with that in mind, the more I lose the excitement. I pretty much lost the very personal, purest goal. I have forgotten that these ideas came up because I simply wanted to create so I could express myself.

It’s pretty much the same with a small project I started with the goal to learn drawing and painting better. I called out friends to send me their favorite selfies and I would practice on their photos. It was exciting at first because I wanted so much to paint my thoughts and opinions in watercolor and oil paint mediums. I wanted these visions to be on paper and canvas. They’ve been staying on my mind for too long now, they need to be on the canvas. So I sought learning. I thought that to be able to execute the ideas visually, and well, I needed to know how to use these painting media. Thus the project. But as time passed by, I lost interest. And I realize it was because most of my attention is now focused on learning, on being good at the skills. I desired so much to learn that I forgot why I wanted to learn these painting tools in the first place.

And then over time, in the middle of executing this project, I got back on track because I was reminded somehow of my very personal aim. I wanted to express my mind, my thoughts that to be able to do this well, I had to have a decent skill level to do so. I had to remind myself that although over the course of a project we focus on the ego-boosting parts like learning skills, gaining acceptance, even earning – that the very essence of all this is because we have a story to tell. We have something to share and express. And that we had to make that one very important person happy after all the thought-excreting and mind-shaking is done. We are our own VIP audience, client, highest-paying patron. It’s so hard to strip off all that noise – the external voices, the capitalists, but it’s the only way to be most authentic in what we do.


  1. Once again, I'm with you. I'm taking progressively more and more time to complete projects (of course it's difficult being a working mamma). But worst of all, when I try doing something for my Etsy Shop, it usually ends up not very well done! I've got several pieces standing-by because of this. I don't really understand if it's purely lack of skill or putting earning as a main goal :/

    1. Hey V, thanks so much for hearing me out, dear. I believe it's this phase in our creative ventures when we try out something new, and yes, perhaps with limited skills for it. I believe indeed it is also the same for me, and not only thinking about what other people will say (recognition, approval, sales...). What I do to counter this is work like a monk, and never tell anyone about my projects. This strategy always isn't as effective as I wanted to be but... I feel fulfilled. Having had answered the many questions without the pressure, really just enjoying the process and getting the tiny answers day by day, is just what I need. But still, since we live in this capitalistic system, we need to earn so life really is just a mix of both doing things for self and for others ;)

  2. I agree. Whenever I do things for others or to get noticed, it always feels so hollow and I eventually stop doing it. This happened with my blog when I started doing make-up and fashion reviews just to get more viewers. Eventually, I lost all interest and motivation. I felt so out of touch with myself since those topics aren't even things I'm interested in! You really have to do things that interest in order to be successful and not worry about being "popular" or making money.

    1. You are totally right, Champagne Star and I thank you for sharing your experience with us. I have also tried so many things but the ones I truly enjoy doing, are the ones that stayed. With social media allowing us to being instant mediocre celebrities, it's easy to fall into the trap of wanting to have a piece of the popularity pie, too but I believe that it indeed is necessary to try out new things. This allows us the questions that plague us often. Can I do this? Can I do that? The answers that prevail will always leave us with life lessons and that is still a win.


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