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As an ENFP, how do you manage to actually *finish* a self-driven project?

I have serious issues with completing any creative project and it's beginning to piss me off...

At uni, I managed to finish (most) work (about a 10 mins before the deadline lol). But I don't have that kind of intentional, unchangeable structure in my life now, as I graduated.

I must have started about 5 short stories and countless crafty projects in the last 2 years - and none have been completed. The only kinds of things I have managed to "complete" would be impulsive poems or very very short stories that splurge in one sitting. Anything that takes multiple hours to complete, well, is just shoved to the back of a drawer. It's like it's the only way I know how to operate.

Do you have any tips on how to complete a project? How do you convince yourself a project is worth sticking with, before starting a new fruity idea? How do you stop compulsively brainstorming and actually follow through with one thing? Do you have any examples of what you have completed and how long it took?
 

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Carrot and stick technique. Carrot works better for me.

Instead of just buying a game I held off until I'd done the first pass of my project. I also gave myself a deadline and, just in case, had my partner keep tabs on me too. It worked.
 

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I developed my Te.

I want something to show for my time, so I finish the writing projects I start. I write short stories in a single go -- I don't walk away from them. I write novels by devoting time each day to working on them, even when I don't feel like it, by setting a deadline for myself / a final word count, and by rewarding myself for accomplishing things.

I work on only one thing at a time, so my focus remains concentrated / all my brainstorming happens around a single project; this way I don't get distracted by other story ideas. I write down good ideas and keep them in a jar, so I won't think about ideas not related to my current project and won't fret about losing them.

My range is 2 or 3 novels of about 100k words a year -- this includes massive rewrites / re-drafting / editing for each one. I can usually pound out a novel in 2 months, then spend another couple of months editing / rewriting it. I've taught myself to enjoy each step of the process -- the free writing itself, then the polishing / grammatical checks, then the proof-reading; I don't share it with anyone until it's polished, so I look forward to receiving feedback.

My Fi just decided that I value finishing things; and since writing is THE most important thing to me (I've actually stayed home to write instead of gone out and done things with friends, that's how important it is to me), I had to learn self-discipline to go along with it.

I suspect being obsessive once I start a project helps. ;)
 

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As an ENFP, how do you manage to actually *finish* a self-driven project?

I have serious issues with completing any creative project and it's beginning to piss me off...

At uni, I managed to finish (most) work (about a 10 mins before the deadline lol). But I don't have that kind of intentional, unchangeable structure in my life now, as I graduated.

I must have started about 5 short stories and countless crafty projects in the last 2 years - and none have been completed. The only kinds of things I have managed to "complete" would be impulsive poems or very very short stories that splurge in one sitting. Anything that takes multiple hours to complete, well, is just shoved to the back of a drawer. It's like it's the only way I know how to operate.

Do you have any tips on how to complete a project? How do you convince yourself a project is worth sticking with, before starting a new fruity idea? How do you stop compulsively brainstorming and actually follow through with one thing? Do you have any examples of what you have completed and how long it took?
Hahaha I relate so much to your posts sometimes I'll think is this me typing this ?
What works for me kinda is : I need a deadline- I notice if I have a deadline I'll finish something, if not I leave and jump to the next amusing project the moment I'm bored .
So try setting a deadline perhaps? I'll finish this by this date etc etc

Have you ever tried finishing what you started years ago ? I do that every now and then.

I too have serious issues with finishing long project though- but I realize the moment I set a deadline and importance into it - it gets done



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Self-started projects and hobbies always worked better for me if there was a payoff at the end.

Examples in my case would be:

Art - I had local art shows I could do, and the payoff of getting recognition for my work was enough to keep me with it pretty consistently for a while there.

Rabbit breeding - this was a very enjoyable hobby for me for years. I did rabbit shows, and I also made some money doing it too. It was very rewarding until... yeah.

Photography - Again, I did a lot of shows, but I also put stuff online.

I can think of a few others, but the most successful ones often involved shows. Shows, regardless of the subject matter, put me in contact with other enthusiasts, let me be inspired by other people's work, helped me gauge how I was doing, and motivated me to do better.

That's why I think active involvement with writing clubs and other such groups can be a good idea for ENFPs. I'm not in any such groups currently, and I think it would help me stabilize a lot if I got involved in them again. I miss doing shows.
 
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In my case, usually, by scaling it back until it can be done in reasonable amount of time.

Most of my unfinished projects were just too big and ambitious or weren't intended to be finished at all.

Generally, I have serious problems with finishing stuff due to memory and attention problems due to trauma and the extreme stress of last several years.

For example I'm no longer capable of writing and finishing short stories.

I'm doing a programming course and I'm struggling to finish it. I'm not giving up, but my problems cause me to advance very slowly - like doing material intended for a week in a month and struggling to absorb information as it gets more complex.
 

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In my case, usually, by scaling it back until it can be done in reasonable amount of time.

Most of my unfinished projects were just too big and ambitious or weren't intended to be finished at all.
Mine I just put on hold. I often don't expect to finish them all at once, but maybe a few months or years down the road. It helps to have things you can circulate when you feel like it.

For example I'm no longer capable of writing and finishing short stories.

I'm doing a programming course and I'm struggling to finish it. I'm not giving up, but my problems cause me to advance very slowly - like doing material intended for a week in a month and struggling to absorb information as it gets more complex.
I think I've finished only one or two short stories in my entire life... that one has always been hard for me.
 

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@Organs, what would you like to do? Lets get to know you better anyway. =)

This is totally something I need to learn. I've been brainstorming on how to not procrastinate for a while (ironic!).

I do better writing if I have a writing group. And, by the way, I want to put one together and am working on that right now. I've got 1 Writer's group now, but it's gotten smaller due to our INFJ getting a weekend job. @angelcat I love the discipline shown here as always. 2 Novels/year is SO wildly cool! How do you get published? Do YOU have a platform (whatever that is?) My husband is just a few chapters away from his first book. We're in our 40's, right? Like I always think you go to a publisher.... what is the scene like? Think of me as someone who thinks of books as being made out of paper. Why do people self-publish? Also do writing groups help you? Any tips?

With painting, I'm a watercolorist. There's a book out there called the 60 minute Watercolorist... lets see if I can find it. https://www.amazon.com/One-Hour-Watercolorist-Patrick-Seslar/dp/1581800355
My art professor said it was his favorite Watercolor book of all time. It's about what I need. Longer is too long. Doing a search for it, I saw some 30 minute ones. I've definitely taken longer on things in the past, but it's when I had art classes and deadlines. If I'm just doing it for a hobby and to get better then 60 min is great. Painting alongside a friend or going to an art class is even better.

With exercise--- and I tell people this all the time-- you are 60% more likely to stick with it if you have an exercise buddy. Also 30% more likely if you have a Fitbit or other Pedometer.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I write down good ideas and keep them in a jar, so I won't think about ideas not related to my current project and won't fret about losing them.

My range is 2 or 3 novels of about 100k words a year
Wow, I have to say I am impressed! I've only really realised in the past year or so that writing is my preferred way of expressing myself. I always thought it was painting, but I discovered I hate painting... I would lay in bed and write pages about how disillusioned I felt about art, not realising I was expressing myself with ease and enjoyment in writing. Yes, writing is extremely important to me but then other things get in the way. Like responsibilities or going to work. Damn work!


Hahaha I relate so much to your posts sometimes I'll think is this me typing this ?
What works for me kinda is : I need a deadline- I notice if I have a deadline I'll finish something, if not I leave and jump to the next amusing project the moment I'm bored .
So try setting a deadline perhaps? I'll finish this by this date etc etc

Have you ever tried finishing what you started years ago ? I do that every now and then.
Hahaha, we must be ENFP twins ^_^ I will give myself a "deadline" but I conveniently forget what I decided, or push it back and back... I've realised there is no point even applying a time frame to myself, as it never works! It only works if someone else has applied that deadline to me, and there are serious consequences if I don't do it in time...
I don't really have any writing projects that I started years ago - I've only recently started getting into it. But it was like a burst of ideas that are lying half finished and confused in various notebooks.

That's why I think active involvement with writing clubs and other such groups can be a good idea for ENFPs. I'm not in any such groups currently, and I think it would help me stabilize a lot if I got involved in them again. I miss doing shows.
This is great advice. Typical of an extravert to complete projects if it means showing other people at the end! :eek:h: I could imagine myself completing stuff if I was involved in a group of some sort - sharing ideas and stories.


@Organs, what would you like to do? Lets get to know you better anyway. =)

This is totally something I need to learn. I've been brainstorming on how to not procrastinate for a while (ironic!).

I do better writing if I have a writing group. And, by the way, I want to put one together and am working on that right now. I've got 1 Writer's group now, but it's gotten smaller due to our INFJ getting a weekend job.
I am just figuring out what I like writing about - maybe I haven't finished any writing projects yet as I've only been into it for about a year. I'm probably being typically impatient with myself. I think you should work on that writing group! I'm well into joining you :) we should get Arzazar Szubrasznikarazar involved too! Maybe just start with very short stories?
 

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Does external motivation work for y'all at all? I found that since I'm not doing anything anyone tells me unless I agree with it anyway (other people call this stubborn, for some reason), it's a wasted effort: The only one who can motivate myself is I.

Anyway, of all the hundred things I want to do and that rest somewhere in a corner of the room or a corner of my mind, it's those that get worked on that I really want to do. When I push it off, it just means I didn't really want to do it anyway. Which, heh, is defining the problem away and giving up ... was that the advice you were looking for? :dry:

With writing in particular, though, I just keep sitting down whenever I have time, so that's a fairly steady (if slow) process. But granted, I don't have the problem of getting distracted by new ideas ... just by anything else in the whole wide world. (The advantage is that once I do return, I return to the same project.)

But maybe it helps you to separate those two causes as well, you talked about both? If you returned to the same project regularly, instead of starting a new one every time, that would already be an improvement.
 

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@angelcat I love the discipline shown here as always. 2 Novels/year is SO wildly cool! How do you get published? Do YOU have a platform (whatever that is?) My husband is just a few chapters away from his first book. We're in our 40's, right? Like I always think you go to a publisher.... what is the scene like? Think of me as someone who thinks of books as being made out of paper. Why do people self-publish? Also do writing groups help you? Any tips?
I actually do self-publish, or indie publish, as it's called.

Why?

Well, partly because some of my stuff does not fit a particular market (I dabbled in fantasy which was too controversial for Christian publishers, and probably too spiritual for secular publishers) and partly because: I don't like being told what to do.

The fact is, publishers can and will meddle with your book. I know of one author who was accepted, but told to rewrite her novel from the female instead of the male perspective. Ironically, when people read her book, several said, "This might have been better from the male POV." I'm currently writing a series, and the idea of other people's impositions on my book series made me cringe. I don't want to deliver books on anyone's timetable other than my own; I didn't want anyone telling me who to write about, and I don't want a set number of books. That's something I will decide, as the entire project evolves.

Basically, I'm super stubborn and want my own way. ;)

I'm the daughter of magazine publishers, so I grew up having my stuff published on a regular basis. I suspect that helped me not only get used to 'sharing' my ideas on a monthly basis, but also in finishing things. I've been the editor now for about a decade, so I handle all the other writers / their material / working with them. It's taught me about all aspects of being a writer, about the editing of material, etc.

I've never been part of a writer's group. I like the idea of it, but not it in practice. Whenever I shared my work with friends when I was young, I found their opinion subconsciously influencing what I chose to write next. I didn't like it. (Maybe my Enneagram 4 didn't like it. ;) A lot of Ne descriptions talk about the need to share and brainstorm -- I choose not to. No one knows what I'm working on, or what's happening with my plot, until I hand them the finished product. That's just how it is. ;)

My advice?

I'm not sure it would work for anyone else, since all of you have trouble finishing things. But my advice is to speed-write the first draft, take a little time off, then reread it to gather the strongest plot threads, then rewrite from start to back, taking out any dull and/or subplots that go nowhere or fizzled out, and perhaps condensing characters to keep a smaller cast. Then streamline it one more time and hand it to your proof-reader.

Beta readers, writer's groups, feedback, etc., doesn't seem to work for me. I think I'd enjoy the idea of BEING WITH PEOPLE, fellow writers, more than sharing my stuff with them! Heh!
 

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I developed my Te.

I want something to show for my time, so I finish the writing projects I start. I write short stories in a single go -- I don't walk away from them. I write novels by devoting time each day to working on them, even when I don't feel like it, by setting a deadline for myself / a final word count, and by rewarding myself for accomplishing things.

I work on only one thing at a time, so my focus remains concentrated / all my brainstorming happens around a single project; this way I don't get distracted by other story ideas. I write down good ideas and keep them in a jar, so I won't think about ideas not related to my current project and won't fret about losing them.

My range is 2 or 3 novels of about 100k words a year -- this includes massive rewrites / re-drafting / editing for each one. I can usually pound out a novel in 2 months, then spend another couple of months editing / rewriting it. I've taught myself to enjoy each step of the process -- the free writing itself, then the polishing / grammatical checks, then the proof-reading; I don't share it with anyone until it's polished, so I look forward to receiving feedback.

My Fi just decided that I value finishing things; and since writing is THE most important thing to me (I've actually stayed home to write instead of gone out and done things with friends, that's how important it is to me), I had to learn self-discipline to go along with it.

I suspect being obsessive once I start a project helps. ;)
Your life seemed very interesting, so I dove into your profile and found charitysplace. It's a collaborative effort, but the Donnie Darko film review was the best explanation of the film I've come across. And now I actually understand it. The sheer amount of work you do is inspiring. I've always been interested in writing, but never picked up the pen. But seeing you juggle everything and being an editor on top of that - truly inspiring. My Te is developing as well and I'm starting to see the fruits of it. I like getting older.
 

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Hi! Yeah, very familiar situation for me as well :)

In the past I abandoned almost all my attempts to improvise music or even create a simple computer game. It seems to have got much better with age though!

I've noticed over time that it helps a lot to concentrate on enjoying the actual process at hands not to focus so much at achieving the results.

This probably has something to do with Te and Si becoming stronger and stronger with age I guess.
 

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My external motivation is a.) making people happy and b.) keeping people from getting mad at me, lol

So basically after the first few times people got upset when I didn't finish something, even if I didn't want to, I started to learn to just push through it.

I try to make things into game or more fun when possible, like time myself and try to beat my time, or put music to it or treat myself with a reward or time off, etc, but of course you just can't always do that so I have learned how to literally FORCE myself to do something i don't want to do OR to finish what I started.

I also HATE wasting things so when something goes unfinished, I realize it's time, energy and often money (spent) that has been wasted or gone unused. I hate the guilt that comes with this, and the beat-myself-up routine I go through, so I just buckle down and do it.

Another helpful thing is that along with my INTP hubby, I ran several businesses so if you didn't finish something, YOU DON'T GET PAID, or you get yelled at, or you have to refund, lol - and OMG I HATE CONFLICT AND YELLING. SO I just do it, no matter what is required.

Plus, I genuinely LOVE feeling accomplished and I LOVE scratching things off my list, even though i tend to overwhelm myself, bite off more than i can chew, and honestly believe i can do WAY more than I actually can, lol.

And now, since my entire business is making things for people, I have no choice but it get it done! But I do have the occasional abandoned project because, you know, life...boredom....something else is more fun...or I'm just not into it anymore, lol.

I think also, some of this comes with age and with living near people who ALSO rarely finish something...you have to eventually buck up and be the one to finish things or nothing gets done!!! -_- *sigh*
 
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