Oct 172014
That great idea sure outlived its usefulness. It neds to go.

That great idea sure outlived its usefulness. It neds to go.

I killed a project this week. Took a rag and some Mr. Clean and wiped all evidence of it from my whiteboard at home.

That’s the first step. Some of my social media sites give reference to this project and those also need to be changed. Everything must go.

This project was a longstanding blogging-for-hire idea. Now is not a good time to implement it, I keep thinking about it, and it’s now a distraction. It’s another squirrel to chase while I have other projects that are more in tune with my goals.

It needed killing.

Sometimes I have to do this. Go through my list of projects and do triage. Which ones live? Which ones die? This is a job that requires an itchy trigger finger.

This does sound like that ol’ debbil Resistance at work, but in truth maybe it was Resistence that gave birth to some projects. Or maybe they seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe they were expedient. But after a while it became evident they weren’t the right ones.

I’d written about this before, but there are a few signs that a project needs killing:

You’re not enthusiastic about it

This could mean anything, including the fatigue that comes with the long slog of any creative endeavor. Bit if my heart is not in something, it most likely means it’s not the right project for me. At least I hope so, and there’s some measure of faith needed here.

Your proposed delivery date is “soon” rather than something definite

“Coming soon” means about the same as “later.” “Sometime.” “When I get around to it.” It’s intention, which changes just about whenever the wind does. If your six-year-old wants to know when he can grow a Duck Dynasty beard, chances are your answer is “soon.”

Ooo … kayy. Soon? Like when the Cubs win the World Series? Are we talking days, weeks, human years, dog years?

Robert D. Smith, a marketing/branding expert who we Web types know as TheRobertD, puts it succinctly. “Coming soon” is a tease. “I feel you’ve wasted my time, because I came wanting more information and nothing was there,” he says.

Ouch. That one kinda hurts. But think about it.

It’s the kiss of death for so many of my projects. That album I was going to record? Soon. That novel I started writing in college? Soon. That blogging-for-hire business? Soon.

So it becomes time for me to stop fooling myself. “Soon” is just something that gets bumped further and further back on my priority list. Right now it’s just clutter, and even when I cast a few stray thoughts that way it’s still too many. Kill it.

But here’s the rub. Those two factors could also mean the project is important and I’m just delaying much-needed implementation. It’s that roadblock designed to throw me off course. How do I tell the difference?

Short answer: I don’t know. Or maybe I really do know, but my own insecurities are telling me tales. But I have some clues. What am I doing instead of that project that needs killing?

  • I could be working on that novel that’s been possessing my brain for many months.
  • I could be working on yet another unattainable project or one that looks good in the short term. Another shiny object. Sometimes it’s hard to tell that from the real deal, though.
  • I could be watching daytime TV and drinking a lot of beer. That one’s a dead giveaway. According to the rules of creative engagement and resistance, the more-attractive project is usually something like that.

In my case the more attractive project is the novel. But I think what makes it the real deal is that it’s getting done. Real work. Actual writing. A couple of roadblocks, but the thing is in second draft right now. Plus it’s more in line with my goals.

At least I hope I’m right.

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