This morning when I went to get my hair done, I ended up having to wait because my appointment had not been entered into the computer and the stylist hadn’t arrived at work yet. So, rather than get annoyed about it, I started writing this post while sitting in the salon’s waiting room, which seemed very well suited to my current topic—writing in bits and pieces.

I keep a folder with handwritten notes and partial drafts of projects that I am working on, or that I’d like to work on when I get around to it. Sometimes they sit for a very long time. I began posting a serialized novel called Breaking the Ice last year, but the original draft goes back to the year 2000. To be honest, that draft sucked, and putting it aside until I had a better idea of what to do with it was definitely the right choice!

The subconscious mind often sets priorities and makes judgments that we don’t notice consciously. When we jump into a project with enthusiasm and then find that it’s fizzling out all of a sudden, or that we’ve gotten distracted by another new interest, there is probably a lot of subconscious processing involved. It doesn’t mean that we are lazy, can’t finish what we start, or need to discipline ourselves to just tough it out regardless of how we feel.

If it’s not a business project that needs to get finished right away to pay the rent, then why force it? After all, there will surely be time to do it later. Even if it doesn’t look like it has reached a natural stopping point, maybe that just means it is missing something that hasn’t become obvious yet.

(At this point I wasn’t sure what my next paragraph should be, so I decided that I had reached one of those non-obvious stopping points and put the draft aside to finish this evening.)

Why does a big heap of unfinished creative projects leave us feeling like we ought to have accomplished much more? Probably because our society has been insisting that we finish our work since we were in preschool. And while that might be fine for reciting the alphabet and other rote stuff, creativity travels its own paths, and they’re not always linear. Sometimes when we feel like we’re slacking off, there are plenty of connections being made beneath the surface.

(Went outside just now to eat a yummy red apple while enjoying the warmth of the setting sun.)

Usually I have the most creative energy at the very times when my folder is crammed full of notes and drafts. It doesn’t mean that I have been neglecting my projects—on the contrary, it means that my mind has been tossing out ideas much faster than I can keep up with them! And that is a very good thing because it means I’ll always have something fun to work on. Whether or not they’ll ever turn into something productive in the business world, well, who knows? There’s no harm done by leaving that question for another day.


  1. Hi Meg, so good you could find some pleasure in this situation. You prove that we can turn thing around in our favour when so many things go wrong. Creativity comes in all shapes and forms, I don’t thing we should follow rules of starting and finishing at determined time. Wonderful results can show up in 5 min or 5 years, from one idea or thousand of them. Have a great day!

  2. This reminds me of a post I read by Kate Northrup a while back, in which she was making the case for the invisible progress that goes on when it appears that we aren’t moving forward, as in early pregnancy, for example. Maybe we aren’t producing results that are visible at the moment, but our subconscious mind is crafting up something for the future without us even realizing it.

    • Yes, exactly — that’s why I try not to force things, because doing so might just add unnecessary stress to something that would have turned out okay anyway.

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