Surviving the Project Plateau


perserverance The hardest part of any project is not the beginning or the end of the project, but the middle.  Whenever I start a new project, the beginning stages are filled with excitement.  My whiteboard gets filled with ideas and possibilities; my conversations are filled with passion as the potential of my new idea is virtually limitless.  When I finish a project, there is again great excitement as I get so see a project come to fruition; there is a sense of pride and ownership as a new creation is done.  But what about the middle?

Every project will inevitably face the project plateau; that moment when the motivation and excitement quickly fade and the finish line starts to seem like it will never come.  The middle of a project is the most difficult.  But it is also the part of the project that separates those that succeed and those that don't.  It's the part of the artistic process that separates the occasional one-hit wonder from the art legends.  It's easy for us to see the allure of creativity - whether that be creating music, sermons, events, films, or something else - and completely overlook the blood, sweat, and tears that are required to make great art.

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."  - Thomas Edison

The project plateau is the moment in your project when you start to hit the wall of resistance.  It stops being exciting and you actually have to discipline yourself to work another two hours.  It stops being endless amounts of creative ideas and instead requires you to force yourself into editing mode.  The only way to survive the project plateau is to persevere through it.  It sucks.  But it's making it through those moments that allows you to not simply be somebody full of great ideas without ever delivering.  It's making it through those moments that allows you to not simply have a decent idea, but something that you can be truly proud of.

Photo Credit: reillyandrew

Comment