I have great ideas. I love starting new projects. I tend to be pretty terrible with follow through however. D. Keith Robinson’s article Starting vs. Finishing, has some good thoughts on the process of finishing a project. In particular, his argument to make sure you finish before you re-start something instead of starting-over in the middle–or sometimes near the end–of a project.
I’ve found it very, very important to actually get to the end of something before you even think about starting over. I don’?t know how many things in life get stuck in the middle of nowhere because half-way through someone decides to start over from scratch. I feel it’?s much better to end and close something completely and then, only if you have to, start all over again from the beginning.
I have found that if I restart without finishing the first draft, that the project generally never, ever gets done. No matter how excited I was about it to begin with, starting over kills it. But if I finish, even if I know that the story or the screenplay will end up needing massive rewrites or that whole sections will be cut or added, if I finish and then go back to do those changes, the project will move forward. By binding the work into a cohesive unit, despite how much change might be necessary, you allow yourself to have a sense of power over the project that you never achieve if you continually start over. Completing even a crappy draft is an accomplishment pure and simple, and can give you the renewed interest and energy for revisions as they become necessary.
Drop a comment if you have some particularly useful techniques or strategies for finishing projects.