October 19, 2020

FINISH YOUR PROJECT: An Anecdote on Seeing it Through

Four years ago, I self-published my first completed book, Illuminate my World. Since then, I have finished two other books, and left several uncompleted projects.

My published novella took me three months to write and research. Can you believe that? I spent my summer and part of fall writing probably every day. I remember being in the dark with my laptop, lying in bed while my family hung out together. I was so determined to write. I loved to write for hours upon hours. Illuminate my World is about a young woman dealing with the loss of relationships, and prevailing schizophrenia. She meets her ex-boyfriend by happenstance years later, and with his support she begins to heal from her past. It’s a cheesy drama/romance. Still makes me cringe. I felt discouraged to publish my story. It’s scary to think someone else is going to read it. What if they think the writing was bad? What if the agents think it’s stupid? Am I depicting schizophrenia and mental illness in a bad light? Many thoughts running through my head made me put this story on hold for two years.

There was an opportunity to self-publish through CreateSpace. This was a “prize” for completing my goal of writing twenty thousand words during National Novel Writing Month in 2014. I finally decided to self-publish not to gain money or prestige, but as a confidence booster. I needed to show my future self that I can follow through with a project to the end. I was scared to market myself, so I did not. My parents told so many family friends to buy my book. They were so supportive and proud of me. I felt even more proud of myself for self-publishing. I wasn’t making sales, but I developed a new skill. Millions of people were not reading my book, but the experience inspired me to write more. It motivated me to complete unfinished projects and believe in myself as a writer.

So, why is it important to finish a personal project?

Confidence. What a confidence booster to look back and see how many projects you completed! You set a goal and achieved it. Finishing a personal project is different than a project for school or work. This was a goal you did not need to set, nor was someone expecting it of you. You can rely on your abilities, and so can others. You have assurance of your hard work. On every resume I send out, my self-publishing achievement is there under Publications. The employers are always impressed at my work ethic and how proactive I am for seeking out a project and completing it. There are many benefits of starting a personal project, and even more benefits from finishing. Set a goal, a deadline, a schedule, and be on your way to completion.

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