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12/02/2002 - Finish what you start

One hard lesson I've had to learn is to always finish what I start. And man, it has been one very difficult lesson.

In the last year, I have written three feature specs, and three sitcom specs, in addition to my essays, articles, etc.

In the previous ten years of my life, I had written five feature specs. Why so few? Simple. I didn't know how to finish what I started.

I had all these different projects going at the same time: my book, my screenplays, articles, learning how to speak Japanese (which I never finished, sayonara), etc. For some reason, I was unable to finish what I started. I have absolutely no idea what it was that was holding me back.

Somewhere, along the line, it just became apparent that I wasn't living up to my capabilities. Instead of being the "go-to" guy, I was the one who always dropped the ball. Looking back, I can only imagine that it was fear which was paralyzing me.

One day, about eighteen months ago, I read something which inspired me to take action. A writer said (in some article I can't remember) that it's okay to write crap. So I printed out in huge letters "It's okay to write crap" and I put it on the wall of my office.

Anytime I became afraid (aka writer's block), I would look up at the piece of paper and then start writing again. Most of the time what I wrote was complete crap. But it was okay! I was totally okay about it. Why? Because when I wasn't writing crap, I was writing brilliantly. And it more than made up for the crap.

More importantly, I started to finish things. It became easier and easier as time went by. And the more crap I wrote, the less crap there was in me to write, so more brilliant stuff started to come out. Eventually, I'm thinking the crap will totally run out, and then everything I write will be brilliant!

The only thing I have to worry about is what will happen when the brilliant stuff runs out. I guess I'll start writing crap again. But it's okay.


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