Many visual artists have no particular trouble starting pieces but lots of trouble finishing them. Why is finishing a work of art problematic for so many artists? In this series we’ll look at twelve reasons. Here’s reason number three:

Reason 3. Not ready for the process to start all over again

Some artists can’t wait to finish their current work of art and begin on their next one. They feel perpetually eager to begin, see with each new canvas or each unused ball of clay a new problem to solve or a new beautiful object to make, and hold completing their current work of art as the necessary steppingstone to their next creative adventure.

At least as many artists, however, have an opposite reaction. They find starting each new work of art something of a trial and even a little traumatic. At the moment of needing to begin they pester themselves with questions like, “Do I have another good idea in me?” and “Am I really working in the right style?” and “Will this be just another one of my paintings that no one wants?” Because beginning is so painful a process for them, they prefer to keep working on their current project, even if it is done or could be readily completed, rather than face the unpleasant reality of another blank canvas.

If you are in this second group, you need to improve and maybe even heal your relationship to starting. You don’t want starting to feel so terrible that it prevents you from completing! Try to answer the following question and then implement your answer: “If starting is a miserable point in the process for me, what can I do to make it less miserable?”

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