An ode to those unfinished projects

I’ve been at this blogging thing for seven years now. Seven years! Everything about my blog has changed over the years: the name, the content, the theme the URL. As I reflect on the last several years of my on-again off-again relationship with this space, I can’t help but think about all of the various internet side hustles I’ve started and stopped over the years. 

I sometimes feel embarrassed about the many stops and starts and rebrands of my corner of the internet. But upon reflection, I realize that through every iteration of my blogging journey I’ve learned a hell of a lot. So let’s take a minute to walk through history and reflect on the last seven years.

  • The Yoga Blog 

In 2013 I launched my first blog, the focus was fully on yoga and I truly thought I would be a “yoga blogger” forever. Over a period of six months, I feverishly wrote thirty-plus blog posts about my yoga practice, attracted a fairly loyal following, posted regularly, and then, very suddenly, ran out of ideas. I tried to overcome my blogger’s block by forcing out about ten posts on other topics, but my heart wasn’t really in that content and I ultimately ran out of steam. The site grew stale, the following stagnated, I left it alone.

  • The Young Professionals Project

The following year I launched The Young Professionals Project, a platform in which I interviewed millennials about their professional journeys in an effort to debunk the conventional myths of success. While I was producing content, the website received thousands of views a month, I had interview requests from oceans away, and I was convinced the #YoungProsProject would be my forever side-project. My vision was to interview hundreds of young professionals and eventually publish a book. 

However, about six months after I launched the #YoungProsProject, I once again lost all of my steam. I had three recorded interviews that I needed to edit and post, but I just never did. Eventually I was forced to accept that my passion for the project appeared to be gone for good, so I stopped paying for the URL and left it alone. The WordPress URL is still live, click here to have a look if you’re curious.

  • 100 Yoga Days

In 2015 I had yet another net new idea: #100YogaDays. I went back to school full-time in 2015 so my life and schedule changed drastically. I had the idea to go to 100 yoga classes that year and blog about all of them. Once again, I lost steam about a third of the way through. Part of the issue was I got sick every two months that year. Each cold or flu or ear infection would totally derail my practice. I also underestimated how much time and energy my college program would take up and struggled to make it to yoga even when I was healthy. I ended up going to yoga about 50 times that year, and only blogging about 30 of them. 

  • rachelgbkmusings // catscoffeecardigans

Also in 2015, I rebranded my original yoga blog to rachelgbkmusings, before ultimately changing it to catscoffeecardigans a couple of years later. That’s when I let go of pressuring myself to post consistently, gave myself permission to write when I was inspired, and not worry too much about categories or niches. However, I only changed my Instagram handle to match my blog name a couple of months ago, two years after the #catscoffeecardigans rebrand! I don’t think I was fully committed to the blog name change until I switched my Insta handle. If you’re anything like me you know that a decision to rebrand a social handle does not come lightly. 

Celebrating the unfinished

OK so why am I sharing this? Turns out I’m not the only person, nor the only blogger, with a list of unfinished projects that I’ve started and stopped. My Instagram feed is full of bloggers around my age, and I’ve followed many of them for years. If you follow any creative-type long enough you’ll notice that they too start and stop projects all the time. Whether that’s a weekly YouTube show they used to post, a book club they used to have, a podcast they recorded two episodes of, a weekly concert roundup they used to share, all of these bloggers have content series and ideas they used to update, but no longer do. Most of them have also rebranded at least once. And that’s great! I don’t think anything less of these bloggers for trying different things, that’s literally their job! So why should I feel weird about my unfinished projects? I’m proud to be the kind of person who will just log into WordPress and start something, and I’m proud that I’m honest enough with myself to know when to stop. 

I think the internet puts a lot of pressure on us to explain ourselves. To share why we’re doing what we’re doing (or why we’re not). I also think we all have piles of unfinished projects that we’ve never posted about on social media (I have exactly two pages of one scrapbook done which is currently sitting in my basement, along with a box full of printed photos that I have not framed or put into albums). I also once started the hashtag #comebackdancer when I thought I would go to dance class regularly again forever. I went about six times and then went back to my regular yoga class. Good for me! 

On failure

Am I the only person who feels that the word “failure” is overused in today’s professional world? Every conference I’ve been to has advised me to “fail fast and break things” in order to keep up with the digital world. I think the word failure is so harsh that, at least for me, I have a hard time understanding what failure even looks like in certain contexts.

I guess you could argue that the projects I listed above “failed” but I don’t know what they would have looked like if they had succeeded, they just stopped. They fizzled out because I moved on.

If you’re intimidated to start something because you’re afraid of failure, I would suggest being gentler with yourself. If you want to start something and put it on the internet, I don’t think it’s a failure if you stop doing the thing, that‘s just a change. Change is normal, it’s a part of life. We’re living in a weird time where, if we choose, we can publish life’s ups and downs on the internet, which can lead to comparison and holding ourselves to silly standards. Just start the project, stop the project, and keep doing that forever. Or don’t!

It never ends 

I’m proud that I’ve been at this blogging thing for seven years now, that I’ve grown up with the internet, that I keep learning and trying new things. I’m proud of all of my unfinished projects because the truth is, nothing is ever done. You can keep editing the draft forever, you can keep retouching the photo, you can keep tweaking the code. It’s your choice whether to take the thing you’ve made and share it, or trash it. But honestly YOU MAY AS WELL SHARE IT! All we’re ever doing is sharing unfinished work with each other anyway, and I think that’s pretty cool.

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