It creeps up on you.
Your fingers start fiddling.
Your eyes go out the window.
Your mind is away on some other adventure.
It came when you didn't look, the boredom.
Your beloved project, the one you were so pumped up about, the one you dreamed about, has transformed. Where you once could barely keep your fingers away, you now have to drag yourself. It takes some time for you to accept it, but it's ever so apparent once you do.
You've fallen out of love with your project.
How could this happen? You were so good together.
Where did that spark go?
Maybe you and your project have dated for a few weeks. Played around, nothing serious. A fling, so to speak. Had fun. And now that the fun's moved on, so will you.
Or maybe you're exclusive. You've moved in together, started the sweatpants phase, fought over deadlines and went on adventures together. But somehow, it's not working. Your project might not be doing the dishes, for example. Or your project is like doing the dishes.
And just maybe you've gone all in. Everything is decided, planned out. Vows are taken, deadlines are announced. You've invested. It's not just about you, people are counting on you two. To break up now would be a disaster. Still, your mind is wandering.
Maybe you've met someone else, another idea making your heart tremble. Just like this project did in the beginning.
And oh do you long to feel that rush again.
So what will you do?
Will you run off with some new project? Will you take a break? Or just stop taking its calls? Say it's not you, it's me?
Before you make a decision, I'd like to suggest asking yourself a few questions about you and your project. You know, just to be sure.
Why did you pursue this project? Or why did it pursue you, if those were the roles? Go back to the beginning. Remember. Is that still there, somewhere? Could you reawaken that curiosity? Or is it really gone?
Have your project gone into too much routine? Are you spending enough quality time together, or are your just hanging out in front of Netflix? See each other briefly, when there's time? Always rushed to finish the next deadline, no time to... snuggle?
Can you identify what's missing? Is it the feeling of challenge or unexpectedness? Of growth and trying out something new? Or is it a lack of purpose, does it not fit you anymore? Could that change?
What is it you want more of? What are the alluring things in those other ideas your eyes keep wandering to? Why are they so interesting and not your good ol' project? Could you add some of that?
What would make you fall in love again? Sometimes the truth hides behind this simple question. Dig deep. What would make your heart beat again?
Can you reignite that flame?
There's a few things you might try, too, before moving on.
Change it. Unlike in, you know, human to human relationships, you can actually change your project. If there's something you don't like about it, you can change it. That's a pretty awesome power you have right there. Maybe the vision you had in the beginning didn't work out, or maybe the plan doesn't fit your life. Well change it then!
Have a date night. Yes, I'm serious. Block out a couple of hours to just spend time with your project, no distractions, no deadlines. Take a shower and light some candles. Focus on the fun you used to have. See if any sparks light up.
Have something on the side. Maybe you're unfairly demanding that your project should fill all your needs. Try having some side-projects that are different from this one. No need to be exclusive in this case.
Take a break. Breaks have a tendency to not go so well, but if you're completely fed up with your project, what you need might just be some time away from each other. Do other stuff. Come back with fresh eyes.
My blog and I hit a rough patch
We were doing just fine, exploring my non-fiction style of writing, growing together. But somewhere along the way, we fell into a routine that didn't do us good. With my many ideas and projects, I didn't carve out enough time for my blog.
One weekend a month, I gave it. Writing two posts a day for the upcoming four weeks, it was always a bit stressful. I didn't have time to sit down with a subject and let it develop on the page. I couldn't twist and turn and let it percolate. I just picked a subject, wrote, edited quickly. Done. Next post.
There's something uniting many of us creatives, and it's that we need a certain level of new to stay interested.
If we stay still or just do the same thing over and over, it takes the creative part out of the project. So as creatives, we tend to lose interest.
My blog and I stopped evolving. We were in a loop of cranking out words with limited time for creativity. What should be the center of my creativity didn't feel creative at all.
But we worked through it.
I identified our biggest problem. I find most joy when I'm growing and creatively challenged. I like to experiment and get playful when I write. I like to use my emotions to stir yours. In all my continuous projects I need to keep changing slightly to stay interested. But doing so demands time.
So the counter-intuitive solution to the boredom with my blog was to spend more time with it. To challenge myself and let creativity do its thing. Now we're happy together again.
If I'd given up, then you wouldn't be reading these words.
Why keep going when you lose joy?
Some projects were never meant to be. Maybe you only pursued it because you thought it was a "good project", something you should do. Maybe everyone else thought it was a good idea. Or maybe it was a project you needed to try to understand it isn't what you really want.
By all means, move on. Just know that with every project, however good, it can't always be butterflies and rainbows. Some days every little thing with it will annoy you. You'll wish you never started it. You'll wonder what you ever liked about it. Yeah, you'll even hate it.
But there's power in better or worse, you know.
When you accept the rough patches, work through them, stick with it, that's when you really, really learn. That's when you're able to make big and wonderful projects, because they are rarely fun all the time.
By trying to understand what's wrong and not just give up, you learn what you enjoy and what you don't. You'll get an understanding of your own creativity that is priceless, because you can take it with you in every future project.
To stick with a project to the end is brave, because you'll have to deal with all those uncomfortable feelings you might escape if you just gave up and switched to something else.