You may or may not know this about me, but I’m the kind of person who leaps into new projects faster than I can type. When I get some new idea that really excites me, I’m the kind of person who starts trying to do that thing NOW, or as soon as physically possible. Maybe this is not completely true in all aspects of my life (I’m not the type who meets someone and gets married in Vegas two days later—my husband and I dated for 6 years before we got married), but it is totally true for me with creative projects—art, writing, blogging, etc.
This personality trait has two significant manifestations: one: I have little trouble starting new projects—I just jump right in, two: I have a lot of false starts—I start things, then realize once I’m a little ways in that it’s not the right way.
This makes me a quitter. I quit projects, and jobs, and classes and whole new life plans. This is often considered a negative thing in our society—if you quit, it means you have no staying power, no follow-through, right? That’s somewhat true, but I have tons of staying power when it comes to the right things—oh, say: this blog, or my art shop, or college. When something’s right, it’s right, and I won’t give it up . . . until it starts to feel wrong.
This whole discussion of false starts and quitting brings me to my little announcement for today: after just about three weeks in action, I’ve decided to discontinue my shiny new second blog The Possibility Path. I’m taking it down because even though it sounded like a good direction, I have come to know that it is, in fact, not the right direction for me right now. How do I know? Well, for the past two weeks, I’ve been trying to force myself to go back over there and write some more posts, but it just feels like drudgery. And anytime something feels like drudgery, I know I’m going the wrong way. This is especially eye-opening because I love blogging, and I love writing about work and life, so I really know something’s off if I’m having to try and convince myself to do these things. Also, I have been blogging here at Blue Bicicletta for just about three years, and I’ve never ever had to force myself to come write a blog post—even more proof that’s something’s wrong.
I will be leaving the blog up through the end of this weekend, so if you would like to go over and revisit anything I wrote there, do it now! I would still like to put the information out there in some way, but I think the main issue is that I would like to create more of an online resource, instead of regular posts. So, I’ll let you know when I figure out how I will share the info.
I would like to say a few more things about false starts and quitting. If you’re like me, and you often find yourself trying new things and then finding out they’re not right—go easy on yourself—this could just be the way you work. And who said being a quitter is a bad thing? It can set you free. The main thing is understanding why you’re quitting—is it because something’s not right? Or is it because you’re afraid to put yourself out there? That is the question, and it can be a hard one to answer.
For me, when something’s just wrong, I feel completely unexcited about it—I have no spark. I think and think about why I’m not doing it, and I can’t come up with any good reason except that there’s just no inspiration there. The idea of doing it starts to become very much like being shackled to the thing (like Martha Beck describes in her book Steering by Starlight), and the idea of quitting feels like setting myself free.
When it’s the right thing but I’m just being stalled by fear, I can feel a spark—I have a longing to do the thing—I feel excited to see what the final product would look like, but I just feel all of these worries about what it won’t be in my head. I’ve learned that with this second case, if I just start working, my excitement will come to the forefront, and before I know it I’ll be on my way.
How about you? How do you know when it’s the right time to quit?