I’ve been a professional almost finisher. Whether it’s decorating, organizing, or reading a book, I usually get to “almost finished” and then, I stop. I don’t call it quitting because I have every intention of going back to the task at hand. It’s usually around mile 14 of 16. Not during lift off, not half way. I almost always stop right before the best part. I see something shiny which gives me an excuse to not finish. To not fail. Perhaps it’s a twisted way to keep myself from experiencing the satisfaction of seeing a finished work. Who knows, but either way, I usually don’t finish projects. I put the project on a shelf of sorts in the library of fear and perfectionism and immerse myself in something new and call it “ADD”. The path to that library is second nature to me. I go there daily. I don’t even have to think about it…I just somehow end up there just when I’m onto something good. It’s like that brief period on the drive home when you sort of wake up at a stoplight and have no idea how you got there.

Kind of like that.

After just thirteen blog entries that each felt as beautiful and rewarding as giving birth (minus the pain) I simply walked away.  Back to the library. I usually avoid making excuses for these pauses or stops. Honestly I rarely do. Excuses are such bullshit, really. I am proud of the fact that I own my story. I don’t make excuses. But for this interruption, I had an entire list…I sounded like the people who drive my crazy with their stories of why they can’t do things. “The holidays” (puke), birthdays, business goals. The blog I was so in love with got put on a shelf right when I started having fun. Mile 14 all over again. After months of beating myself up over this and treating this creative adventure as if it were an item that never got checked off of my to do list, I actually realized that it was okay to hit pause. The Universe would not be affected by me choosing to once again not finish. I didn’t have to do it, and honestly, no one noticed anyway. It was okay.
But I wasn’t okay.
I was affected. I missed it. I missed the process…whatever this writing thing is, I missed it terribly. Even if I suck at this, even if it terrifies me, and it does, I missed it.

So I, the unfinisher, the self proclaimed temporary quitter, just finished “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Yep, finished.

I devoured every bit of it. Every word. I tricked myself into reading it by listening to it on a long 18 hour drive last week. I had all night, and nothing to do, so I clicked play. I knew before that voice began speaking in my ears, that something was about to happen. I knew, without having a clue what the book was about, that the past seven months of living without creating was all coming to an end. And my God am I glad I was ready to hear her voice. It shook me, spoke to me, I think the words actually sang to me…and here I am. Finishing. Someone with only a handful of books on her “I’ve actually read them cover to cover” list, insecure about a limited vocabulary, afraid of looking ridiculous, a former future art historian who failed out of a liberal arts college and settled into a respectable career as a nurse, someone who never journaled has a blog? Yes. She does. I do. After experiencing big magic as Elizabeth calls it, I realize that I cannot not do this. Everything in the past seven months has brought me right back here. I’m not writing to get free trips to Disney, or to in fact “get” anything.


I’m writing because I want to create. It’s who I am. I don’t need anyone’s permission to live a creative life. If my guts dance and my soul smiles, I’m in. And in this moment, as my heart says “atta girl…glad you’re back” I know I am where I belong. Who knows the ending. It’s irrelevant. The process is pure joy to me and so I’m going to keep collaborating with creativity while making as many trips to that library as it requires.

Jill Herman