How to finish creative side projects

How I love to start side projects. And how wrapping them up sometimes is a bit of a challenge!

I"m a great starter of creative side projects. I love the new, the fresh, the anticipation of what this may be. I'm a great organizer and planner and list-maker. I'm pretty efficient too - I can get a LOT done in a small amount of time. Having time constraints does make you focus!

Now the finishing part? I can run out of steam. Tyranny of the urgent and suddenly the weeks and months have flown by. And so it is with my Tovah Cooks side project.

We had been living in Toronto for 10 years in 2011 when we realized that we had to move to Vancouver to care for my mother-in-law. My husband's father had passed away a couple of years early and Tovah was now on her own. She had always been independent and determined to stay in the house she had lived in for over 50 years. And being a 4 hour flight away made it easier for her to hide how challenging it had become to live on her own.

She didn't want any help. She didn't ask for any help. But we knew we had to return. You can't be there for someone when you are three time zones away, especially when "being there" is more about practical hands-on help than rah rah cheery phone calls and emails.

After Tovah passed away in 2014 we were tasked with sorting through her home, her well loved home. She was a saver - boxes of mementoes and tchochkes filled the house from top to bottom. We're not talking hoarder status, just the physical evidence of 50 years of mothering and acting and painting and writing and entertaining and family and and and....

Some of my keepsakes were her favorite recipe books and her wooden box of handwritten recipes. She wasn't a fancy cook. She loved to entertain but it was more about bringing people together than it was spending time in the kitchen. Her heyday was the era of Tang and canned soup casseroles and all manner of frozen items. Space age! NASA! 

The man has his favorites of hers, some of which in the last years of her life she had long forgotten ever making. I made a favorite recipe short list and updated the techniques and ingredients and for our own taste.

I have a few more recipes to shoot and then I'm putting them together in a hard cover book. It'll be a memento for our 9 year daughter who is a doppelgänger of Tovah. Passionate. Creative. Funny. Happy. Loyal friend. Up for anything. 

So how to finish creative side projects? Just take that first step. Tick it off the list. Then the next step. There's neither mystery nor magic. Just finish it.