Starting Again 4

Done! Yay me!

You know that feeling. When the project that you’ve been slaving over is finished and it’s good. When you can breathe easier without the wrath of the unfinished bearing down on you. When you can stand back and admire your work. When you can finally relax.

That’s how I feel right now. In my working days, it was because the school year was ending and I was coming home with an empty book bag for the first time since September. Now, even though my projects are orchestrated 100% by me, they still tend to wind down in June. So, I have just finished up some cool things.

For instance, our Chorale just gave a concert of music that we worked on for months. It’s so satisfying to finally perform a difficult piece that has taken so long to get right. At the beginning, I always feel as though I’m just not up to it, that I’ll never learn it all, that it’s presumptuous of me to think that I’m musician enough to even be in the room. And then, over time, it comes together and the result is glorious.

And then it’s done.

I finished and published Saving Our Lives: Volume Two this winter, nearly a year after I thought would. I took a new business tack and had a few (million) things to learn. And the editing is painstaking and always takes longer than I think it will. It kept me occupied for a long time.

And now it’s done.

I just finished an essay for Volume Three of Saving Our Lives that took me a month to write. It had been rolling around in my head for ages and, for some reason, was really hard to start. And once I got it started, it faltered and sputtered along until I was ready to ditch it. I came close. But just as I was about to throw in the towel, a sentence came—and then another and another and another until I got to the end.

And now it’s done.

My niece and my sister and I set out to tackle some really hard (for me) crochet patterns with thin thread and teeny-tiny hooks.  We met weekly for our Stitch ‘n Bitch session—and believe me, especially at first, there was way more bitchin’ than stitchin’.  It was hard! Starting these projects is brutal, even now that I have some experience with them. Turning nothing into something in any medium is a feat, but these lacy crochet projects are barely visible at the start—and really easy to give up on. But once you get a few rounds behind you and you actually have something to hold on to as you work, it gets more manageable. And once you see the pattern forming under your fingers and you realize that you are making it happen, well, then it gets addictive and you strain under the brightest light in the house late at night, keeping at it until your head bobs and your work falls in your lap. I made an afghan, a shawl and three intricate doilies this season, sometimes with two or three projects going at once—huge for me.

Now they are all done.

Book club is done for the season as is our ushering stint at a local theater. We made our spring trip down south to visit the kids and we gave the annual Memorial Day Birthday Bash. We planned and pulled off participation in two full-weekend book vendor events—our first ever!

And now, all that is done. I should be basking in the glow of being done, but I’m not. What’s up with that?

Ernest Hemingway once said that a writer should never empty the well. Never stop a writing session by bringing the idea to a close. Save some of that already developed thought to get you started the next time. Never stop a writing session at the end of a sentence. Instead, stop in the middle. Leave something to prime the pump.  Starting from scratch every time sucks, so think ahead.

In other words, it’s so much easier to continue an ongoing project than it is to start a new one.

Oh, no. What have I done?

I think that I have inadvertently emptied my well on all fronts. I even finished the last book I was reading and have yet to start a new one. And now, as I struggle to choose a new project from among a million possibilities, I have nothing in the works to focus my attention, nothing that I can just pick up and work on, nothing where the agony of starting is behind me.

Even this blog post is almost





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