Tuesday, 22 January 2013
I think most creative people have something that I call a Forever Project — a project that, despite its audacity and seeming impossibility, simply will not put itself to bed. A project that comes creeping back into your consciousness when you sit down for a break from “real work.” A project that is hard to imagine actually embarking on, but whose mental cost of abandonment is far too high to even consider. A project that you'd totally do if you had the time, and the money, and the talent, and the…
I don't know about you, but I adore my Forever Project (mine happens to be a game that I've been punting around in various forms since the late 1990s, and I wouldn't be surprised if yours was a game of some sort, either). I might not have made the progress on it that I wish I would have, but just having it out there as something to think about gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Most people would say having a project that you can't put down but that you don't make any substantial progress on is silly, the antithesis of the various flavors of Getting Things Done that spring up now and again, but I disagree. While I may not have finished (or even really started) my game, poking around the edges of it have led me onto wonderful tangents during which I've learned a lot about a lot of things, things that I may have never touched if it weren't for my Forever Project. Rather than be a source of disappointment, my Forever Project is a source of constant inspiration.
If I ever really completed it… well… I'm not sure what I would do. Probably replace it with a better version of itself. But that's silly, because I'll never actually complete it, because your Forever Project is like the speed of light — you can get infinitely close to it, but you can never quite get there. It's just the nature of the beast.
Stop beating yourself up about not making progress on your “one big goal.” Eating healthier and exercising more and being a better spouse/friend/etc are goals. Your Forever Project is not. Your Forever Project is your Beacon on the Hill, pushing you to be better, to learn, to stretch, to reach just a few finger widths beyond your grasp, over and over again.
Embrace your Forever Project, and never stop dreaming.