I took a few minutes early this morning to work on a model. It’s my hobby and I get precious little time to work on it. I guess that’s why I was charging ahead. I am building a fairly simple kit called The Baron… It’s a reissue of one of artist Dave Deal’s kits from the 70s. I love to build these things because they harken back to my childhood, when my Nana used to buy them for me and let me stay up into the night and put them together. I actually had this kit as a child and when I saw it was coming out, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
Now my skills have improved dramatically since those days, but there are some principles that remain constant. I was trying to glue as many pieces on as I could before having to head out to the office when I felt the little plane beginning to sink beneath my hands, and that’s when I remembered, no amount of skill matters if the glue isn’t dry. I was rushing a bit, and I paid the price. The wheels were falling off.
What a great metaphor. If you feel like the wheels are coming off of some aspect of your life, maybe you need to check to see if the glue is drying. My little plane could not stand up under the weight of the pieces I was adding to it. Those glue joints needed to cure. In the same way, it is easy for us creatives to go charging into our projects, trying to get them done, because we’re often working our creativity around other things, but sometimes we have to get to a point in the project and then let it sit until it’s actually ready and can bear the weight of what’s next. Sometimes we need to wait before we can proceed.
Now to be clear, I’m not talking about sitting around idly doing nothing. I fixed those wheels and moved over to the lap top to write this post. I simply had to acknowledge that this was as far as I could go on The Baron today and it was time to move on to something else. (This is why I advocate having two to three projects going at once.) It’s not procrastination if you know going further will wreck the project. Sometimes you have to let things sit and cure for a while.
If you’re metaphorically banging your head against a wall with a project, or if it seems to be falling apart and more work will only make it worse, maybe you need to let it sit and do something else for a while. Most times it’s worth the wait.