Why I abandoned personal projects and why that’s (not) okay
Recently during some self reflecting time I noticed that many of my personal projects are put in the fridge and eventually die a slow and silent death. I wondered why this was the case and if I could and needed to change this.
I realised that there were two main reasons of why I abandon my personal projects. First, I tend to lose interest. You might be passionate about your new idea but sometimes it’s not the challenge you hoped it to be and thus lose interest. I think it’s okay to have this reaction. Personal projects should be about expressing yourself and doing what you love, not what you need to do so it gets done. Enjoy the time working on it, and when you stop learning from it, it’s time to say goodbye.
The other reason why some of my projects fail is that I keep on thinking my work isn’t good enough. When I think I’m creating crap, it’s hard to keep being motivated to continue. While this is a perfectly logical response, it’s not okay to think this way. It means that projects you are passionate about are being bombarded by negative comments of your inner critic. It should be okay for you to make crap if you enjoy doing it. You have nothing to prove to anyone, not even yourself.
Allow yourself to fail. It’s the only way to learn. Failing should also not let you stop doing the things you are passionate about, because that’s the whole point about personal projects, doing stuff you love and want to do. And the road is more important than the destination.
How I turned it all around? I’m allowing myself to create crap. I’m telling my inner critic to skip off and just enjoy doing what I want to do while caring less for the results. It’s hard at first, because it’s easy to judge your work. But when you stop judging and start focussing on the road, it will be easier to get things done. And when you get things done, that’s when you’ll start creating beautiful stuff.