I’m losing my momentum. That new project enthusiasm is gone and I’m faced with distraction and doubt. What do I do? Choose an easier alternative? Prepare more before continuing? Or push forward at a unique and considerable risk?
The greatest barrier to my employment right now is the lack of a good portfolio. With this in mind, I put together a list of projects to build that I think will demonstrate the full range of my skills… Copies of existing sites with unique modifications… Re-creations of old sites with my own perspective on how they should be built today… And, some original ideas. These are all high-quality, broadly scoped projects targeting real use cases. They are not quick one or two day jobs.
About three weeks ago, I chose one from the list and started work. Now I’m at a critical stage. There are, of course, implementation challenges, but that was expected. The problem is that it’s not a new project any more. I’m fixing bugs more than I’m adding features and I’m caught under the avalanche of minutiae of making it just right. It has become a grind: feature… bug… bug… bug… feature… bug… bug… and so on. I’m tired. I don’t look forward to working on it any more. I find my mind wandering. I’m prone to distraction and doubt. Seemingly on it’s own, My mind is tempting me with alternatives… Maybe I should work on my résumé instead. … Maybe I should work on my blog instead. … Maybe I should do some Upwork projects instead. … Maybe I should read more about creating a portfolio first. …
This is a critical time. I know all too well that this happens in any project that takes more than a couple of days to finish.
Admittedly, my mental stamina is quite low. It’s my own fault, but at the same time I feel like it was completely out of my control.
For several years after I got out of the Army, I coasted. I did quite well for myself. I had no focus at all, but I had endless energy and boundless enthusiasm. Then I got sick. My energy disappeared and my enthusiasm turned to fear. My constant worry that I would trigger another episode taught me to back off whenever I felt stress. I got very good at backing off and lost the ability to follow through.
Then, my daughter started speaking and dreaming and wanting things beyond simple candy and toys. She has dreams and goals of her own now. What kind of example do I set if I stop working whenever my initial enthusiasm wears off. What kind of parent am I if I don’t earn an income to provide her with a decent education or an environment where her imagination can flourish and she can achieve her goals?
No! I will not back off! This is the mental equivalent of muscle failure and I must push in order to grow. This is an essential trial and I must not fail if I want to … be a person again.