I see the last day of the year as a perfect time to recognize achievements and failures before abandoning them completely come 01/01.
Looking back, I announced and started many creative projects that, unfortunately, didn’t make it to completion or saw the light of day.
Here’s a complete list:
- Animalia, my first poetry collection
- Poetry for Others 2014
- Freelancer Magazine (back when I was still blogging for Filipino freelancers)
- Better Work Podcast (again, back when I was still serving Filipino freelancers)
- Catch30 Project – a habit-building and accountability project
Five projects. Man does this sting real bad.
But instead of moping about, I asked myself three questions: 1. Why did I fail to finish this project?; 2. What were the factors?; and 3. What could I have done that would have allowed me to complete this project?
After thinking long and hard, I arrived at 5 reasons why I failed. And as much as I want to keep this behind the curtains for fear of embarrassing myself, I felt it necessary to share my experiences and realizations with you here, in case you’ve failed in your own projects and are wondering what went wrong.
Reason #1: I was focusing and doing too many things.
I just can’t function when I’m juggling too many things at the same time. It ruins the quality of my work and leaves me feeling stressed and unhappy!
It’s why I’ve made a promise to myself to take things a step at a time where I’d finish one thing first before moving on to the next. This is a huge challenge, but I’m betting my bottom dollar that this will enable me to be much, much more fluid, clutter-free, and systematic.
Reason #2: I didn’t prioritize it enough.
A snapshot of my 2014 Trello dashboard. This is where I plan on my creative projects.
For Poetry for Others 2014 and the Catch30 Project, I set these aside because I felt I had to do client work first, I was tired and exhausted, I had errands to do, etc.
Because I didn’t treat these two projects with the same care and urgency, time passed fast enough for me to forget about them.
Reason #3: I wasn’t flexible enough for Life.
I couldn’t get back into writing after being struck by an emergency, financial problems, or issues at work. This year I had to drop many and often to be with my husband and children.
I don’t regret doing so nor do I assume I’ve control over life’s twists and turns. But I’ve definite control over how I respond and what I could have done after the event had happened. Sadly, it wasn’t good enough to be able to meet my deadlines.
Reason #4: I lost interest and drive.
This is by far the hardest reason to admit to, especially for the freelancing-related projects.
I started them with so much enthusiasm, believing that they’d make a significant impact.
Soon, I realized that I’m growing out of that niche and wanting to take on a different path. I tried ignoring it until it eventually became a hindrance to the things I really wanted to do.
This ultimately led to my quitting both projects and making a huge transition.
Reason #5: I didn’t fully commit to the WHY of the project.
The WHY behind everything that you do is crucial to its success.
While I had great WHYs behind the projects I’ve undertaken. For the Catch30 Project, it’s to build habits and foster consistency. For Animalia, it’s to contribute to Philippine literature while promoting awareness for animal welfare.
Sadly, I wasn’t fully committed to taking on the challenges and the heaviness of the tasks these projects needed to see completion.
I guess you can call this the “result” or “summation” of reasons #1-4.
Do any of these reasons hit you hard as well?
I’ve gained just as much this year.
Depressing as this all may sound, I’d like to think that I’ve gained just as much from the work I’ve done this year:
- I won a scholarship to Joe Bunting’s Story Cartel Course — at the time when I was about to give birth to Noah.
- I gave birth to Noah!
- I contributed to my first collaboration with members of the Story Cartel course. Our book’s gonna come out (hopefully) before March 2015!
- I begun work on my next major editorial project.
- I connected with new friends and fellow creatives who are as passionate and extremely talented with the written word.
- I’ve collaborated with Wina and Abbey on The Experiment where poetry, fiction, and art meet at seven thematic stop points.
I’m thankful for all that I’ve received and accomplished, despite the many setbacks that caused me to leave these projects unfinished.
So for 2015, I aim to take on a smarter, clearer, and more minimalist direction. I’d like to work on projects one at a time (my target is 1-2 completed projects), say “No” more often, and abandon/cut out what doesn’t serve me or help me reach my goals.
More importantly, I hope you’ll be at ease knowing that there’s someone here who’s failed and are motivated to rethink your own approach to your projects for success.
What’s your experience with failed projects? And on the flip side, what have you successfully finished and accomplished? Let me know in the comments!