For me, a creative project is like pulling a sled up a snowy hill. In the beginning it’s easy and fun, I’m all excited about the ride and looking forward to seeing where it will take me.
As time goes by, however, it’s tough to keep moving. I start slipping, and have to scramble to keep moving forward. After a while I start thinking, “Is all this really worth it? Do I really have to get to the top? Look how far I’ve gotten, surely I can just stop here and call it done. I don’t really have to finish this, just because I started it, do I? My legs are tired and I’m starting to get scared, and it’s cold up here!”
This, for me, is the most dangerous part of a project. Because I know myself, and I know that if I stop I’ll lose my footing and slide all the way to the bottom. It’s happened before, with other projects, and I know from grim experience that I won’t try to climb that hill again. I may climb other ones, higher ones, even, but I won’t go back up a slope where I’ve fallen–looking at all the ground I lost is just too depressing.
So the important thing for me, right now, is to keep moving. Fortunately, on this particular project, I have a whole crowd of folks trudging up the slope with me. We’ve all got so much invested at this point that I’m scared to give up–my co-conspirators might go all Donner Party on me.
Keep moving. Do the next thing. Fight for traction.
Don’t look down.