Start Small, Finish Small

I have a small fiefdom of broken and unfinished projects. I am the emperor of failed ideas.

I suffer from a relatively well known disease—many of you may know of it or have experienced it first hand—that corrupts the creative mind. I have a heartfelt desire to make something. I begin hopefully, I have a vague awareness of what this might be, but no idea, at all, how I am going to craft it, or even where I may find something similar to “surprise adopt.”1 The truth is I don’t want to build just any something, rather an ambitious something. If you’re nervously nodding your head in solidarity as you read this, then you realize what’s coming next: I have never built anything, let alone a something.

The dreams that fill my tiny mind are as uplifting to the spirit as they are corrosive to discipline. Despite rational and methodical planning, I can’t seem to finish “simple” tasks without tagging on a bunch of adventurous nice-to-haves. Next thing I know, the optics around an afternoon’s project have become as unwieldy as passing a bill through Congress. Blaming the firehose of inspiration (i.e., the Internet) is in order. However, it would be unbecoming of a distinguished gentle-person-majigy, like myself, to blame others2 for my character flaws…

The answer to my problem is self-evident: I need to aim lower… much lower.

My aim shouldn’t be so low that it stops me from doing anything, but just inside my [buzzword] Zone of Proximal Development [/buzzword]. History has demonstrated that—I’ll speak for myself here, so don’t panic—I simply cannot build upon something that hasn’t had time to coagulate from an etherial idea into a gelatinous thing. A writer doesn’t finish their blockbuster trilogy before the first chapter of their terrible cerebral-noir-western-My Little Pony mashup is complete. (Don’t look at me with that face.)

Therefore, I, the flaming eye that controls this tiny piece of the web, vow that from here forward my goals will be set just one degree below my current horizon. Moreover, I will continue this pattern, inch by inch, until I have something. Anything.

And it all starts with this crumby blog post.

Start small and finish small to finish at all.


  1. That’s the politically correct way to say “steal” these days, correct? 

  2. Clearly, it’s my parents fault. A few more hugs during my childhood and I might have become a doctor, or some other form of respectable human being. Instead, I waste my time on the internet. Thanks, Dad. (Jokes aside, I love my parents, truly and I wish I could footnote a footnote.) 

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