🦊 Finish It
#106 — The heavy cost of holding back your work
“Finish something. Anything. Stop researching, planning, and preparing to do the work and just do the work. It doesn't matter how good or how bad it is. You don't need to set the world on fire with your first try. You just need to prove to yourself that you have what it takes to produce something.” —James Clear
Procrastination is often perfectionism in disguise.
And perfectionism is a misguided attempt to secure an impossible guarantee.
That terrified part of you wants to know how your work is going to be received. It wants to know, even though you can’t know.
Once your share your work, it’s out of your hands. There’s no guarantee of how it’ll go.
Uncertainty is unsettling. So, out of desperation, you scramble to secure an outcome the only way you know how:
If you never share your work, it can’t fail, because no one will ever see it.
But silence comes with its own guarantee: You’ll disappoint yourself.
Don’t let misguided fear hold you back from engaging with the world. Isolation is safe, but connection keeps us alive.
Give yourself permission to finish. Do what it takes to find the confidence to put your work out there.
As Robin Sloan reminds us, unfinished work comes at a heavy cost, and finished work comes with compounding benefits:
When you start a creative project but don’t finish, the experience drags you down. Worst of all is when you never decisively abandon the 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 … It’s the pump of a piston, preparing the engine for the next one.
Unfinished work drags and depresses; finished work redoubles and accelerates.
Finish the thing.
Do it well, but get it done.
Liberate yourself by letting it go.
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A fun milestone to share this week: We now have more than 2,000 subscribers to 🦊 Quick Brown Fox! 🎉
Five years ago, I had no newsletter, no blog, no drawings, no animations, no book in progress. I wasn’t expressing myself creatively in any real way, and my startup life was my entire identity. So much has changed since then!
I’m so grateful for this space, and the privilege it affords me in expressing myself. I truly appreciate your time and attention. Thank you for reading, listening, and supporting my work.
I’ll leave you with some lovely pieces of art by Vanessa Gillings. I love the fairy tale spirit of her work: