“The best project is a new project,” said my boss to our team many years ago. She was pointing out that we all get tired of things we have worked on for a span of time, and the promise of starting a shiny new project is often more than we can resist. Nevertheless, we do need to finish the projects we start.
She was right, of course. Large quilts projects involve quite a commitment of time, money, and sustained effort. And they can become, well, monotonous. An endless supply of new projects beckons (not just for me – probably every creative person has a pile), so why not just take a break from the big overwhelming thing and do something quick and easy? Sometimes this is a great idea, and it can keep me engaged and working rather than bored and scrolling Facebook all day. But there comes a time when enough is enough.
Recently I found myself surrounded by unfinished projects. Two sets of placemats (12 per set) awaited binding. A child’s panel had been quilted but needed to be trimmed and bound. A hundred 5” squares needed to be cut, to go with the 250 that I had already cut, before I could continue a project with a deadline. A stack of “smalls” (coasters and pot holders) were pieced and pinned, and needed to be quilted and bound. In other words, I had done most of the fun work and all that was left was the finishing.
Suddenly the same boss popped into my mind. She had also told our team about how air traffic controllers have to keep a number of airplanes in the air at any given time, safe from one another. But their goal is not to keep airplanes aloft; the job is to land planes. “Land the Plane” became our team motto, and I as I recalled Judy’s words, I realized they applied to my current situation too. Land the Plane. Finish the project.
Only finished work can be shown or sold, after all.
So I have been devoting the last few days to finishing projects. Placemats. Quilts. Etsy listings. It feels good to finish so many things – it makes me realize how much I have accomplished, in a way that piles of works in progress do not. Stay tuned for that project with the deadline.