When you start a creative project but don’t finish, the expe...

When you start a creative project but don’t finish, the expe­ri­ence drags you down. Worst of all is when you never deci­sively abandon a project, instead allowing it to fade into forgetfulness. The fades add up; they become a gloomy haze that whispers, you’re not the kind of person who DOES things.

When you start and finish, by contrast — and it can be a project of any scope: a 24-hour comic, a one-page short story, truly anything — it is powerful fuel that goes straight back into the tank. When a project is finished, it exits the realm of “this is gonna be great” and becomes instead something you (and perhaps others) can actually evaluate. Even if that eval­u­a­tion is disastrous, it is also, I will insist, thrilling and productive. A project finished is the pump of a piston, preparing the engine for the next one.

Unfinished work drags and depresses; finished work redoubles and accelerates.

(I ought to clarify: sending an edition of a newsletter does not provide this fuel. The internet works against the feeling of starting and finishing, against edges, because those things all imply endings, and the internet never ends. To produce the fuel of comple­tion with a newsletter, you’d have to start one … send some number of editions … and shut it down.)