Even the Woodpecker






“Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finishes the job he starts”
Coleman Cox


When we moved into our house 9 years ago I would be the first to admit it wasn't for the backyard. It was an ugly square of a yard with a cement sidewalk running straight through to the garage, brown patchy grass, and other than a lilac tree and a Mock Orange scrub not much life.

We didn't do anything quickly, it was small steps every year, a flagstone patio put in small sections at a time, raised planter beds, a fence, a couple of perennials every season, a few rose bushes, a small Concord grape vine,... last night lying in the hammock watching the woodpecker take a bath in the bird bath, doves, finches, and Blue Jays visiting, butterflies and bees working over the sunflowers, it has become a sanctuary.

For me finishing work is where I get stuck. I'm very motivated in the beginning, struggle through the middle and usually abandon all hope towards the end. In Mari Messer's creativity book Pencil Dancing she talks about the fear and anxiety that keeps many creative people from starting or finishing work.

Here are just 3 Early Warning Signs of Fear and Anxiety from her book.

"Feelings of panic and resistance.
Diminished enthusiasm and enjoyment.
Procrastination."

How to overcome them? Well for me it is recognizing that it's fear and then plowing through to the end. It's also thinking about other projects I have finished. Knowing that I felt the anxiety before and kept working at it until it was finished reminds me like my garden, little steps, just like Anne Lamott's "bird by bird". Today, look for your unfinished projects, if you're not ready to tackle them are you ready to let them go? What steps could you take today that will clear your desk of unfinished projects. Now get back to work!
Lovingly,
The Writing Nag

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