Calm Lake, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway © T. F. Lokken.

There will always be more ideas.

So finish them as they arrive.

When we are not yet confident in what we do—and still consider ourselves totally inexperienced and unworthy—it can be rather a shock when one day we start to make something and find that, for the first time, subtle hints of the ‘good stuff’ we’ve been endlessly been striving for start floating in on the wind. It can be a rather overwhelming feeling and, if you’re anything like me, your response will be to immediately—emphatically—stop working.

Shut it down!”, the Ego screams, “Quit. Before we somehow reap something underwhelming from something promising.” Just as nascent suggestions of work that matches your taste starts to appear, so can this voice in our heads. We don’t believe we can possibly do this rare, precious, Good Idea justice. At least, not right now. You’ll come back to it when we’re better equipped, you tell yourself.

The trouble with this, of course, is that you get very little finished. Most of what you make is—even by your own standards—achingly naive and can feel undeserving of your further time and effort. The rest, you can’t stand to complete, lest it not turn out as well as you’d hoped. Fortunately, the solution couldn’t be simpler. We simply make sure to always finish what we start. When learning, we’d ideally finish everything we start—even the gross stuff—but those of us who are chronically aware of what little time we have left on this earth can instead at least commit to finishing everything that shows genuine signs of promise. Do yourself the charity of always drawing at those fine threads. Draw at them until the cloth itself disappears. This is how we quickly cultivate a creative voice. If you find yourself making something that’s ever going to be worth completing, don’t wait; more Good Ideas will come. Complete it now.