Here’s how one doctor described another outstanding doctor’s type of drive: “he has a passion for completion.” Wow! That phrase really caught my attention. A passion for completion — what does this mean, exactly?
To my mind, it means more than just attention to follow through — to finishing a task. It means driving toward a goal energetically and demonstrating the same level of passion at every stage of a project, from beginning to end. It means holding yourself to a high standard every step of the way.
Thinking about this made me realize that a passion for completion is something I really need to foster in myself. I don’t know about you, but if I’m totally honest, I’d have to say that follow through is not my strong suit. A friend once said this (more or less) to me about herself, “I’m strong out of the starting gate, but I’m more of a sprinter than a marathoner. I’m not sure I can keep going.” Frankly, I could say the same thing about myself. I probably have a few trees’ worth of paper sitting in files and piles in my office with projects that I have yet to complete. There’s a play, a screenplay, even a musical that I’ve written scenes and songs for — which takes a lot of chutzpah, since I know just about zip about writing music. But I digress.
Passionate about completion: I’ve realized that this really has to be an aspirational goal of mine when it comes to my writing. But if I get too global about all the unfinished projects languishing in my files, I’ll just get down about it all. So, first, I’m going to give myself some kudos for staying with my YA novel — really pushing it to completion and then going through one major revision and then another, which is still in progress. I can honestly say that I’ve never worked as hard or as long on any writing project. I’m still not done, but I’m moving forward day by day.
Still, I have a long way to go in building my “passionate completion” writing muscle. So I’m going to start with a baby step: I’m going to complete a small project. I have a story idea for an online newsletter that I really enjoy. I’m going to draft up a query letter and see if the story might be of interest. If so, then I’m going to pen it and submit it. How about you? Is there some small project you could finish that would strengthen your “passionate completion” muscle? Let’s just do it and write on!