Thursday, August 4, 2011

Need a New Plan

I have found myself bogged down on my Pocketship project.  I'd like to attribute my current lack of progress to the nice weather we've been having here in the Pacific Northwest.  And it is true, I've spent a lot of time biking, hiking, kayaking, walking, backpacking, and generally not working on the boat.  But really, that isn't the reason that I haven't been making progress.  The reason is fear.
I went out to inspect my fillets, and decided that I did a pretty good job on them.  Then I started to sand them.  In sanding them, I found that there were a couple of places that I wanted to sand a little more, so that they'd look really good.  And then I found a few more places, and a few more.  The more I sanded, the more perfect I wanted it to be, and thus the more sanding it would require.  Thus, the more I did, the further I was from being done.  Finally, I stopped sanding, boggled by the amount of sanding left before me, afraid of the task ahead (I hate sanding) and devoid of the motivation require to perform it (I hate sanding).

Mind you, there really was/is very little cleanup that needs to be done to do a decent job.  The issue here is me wrestling with perfectionism.  There are two really good boatbuilding blogs that I've read that deal a lot with the role of perfectionism in boatbuilding.  One one side, there is Peter Gron, who built a Devlin Arctic Tern.  He embraced his perfectionism, indulged it even, and ended up with a beautiful boat.  After seven years.  Then there is Larry Cheek, who is almost done with a Devlin Winter Wren.  Larry tries to inject reasonableness into his work, fight the perfectionist urge, finish and move on.  I've learnt a lot, reading these guys' stories.  Where you draw the line will determine the final quality of your work, but it will also determine (based on your personality) how much you will enjoy your project. 

I've drawn the line in the wrong place.  I'm not enjoying this project right now.  I need to redraw the line and move on.  To move forward, I need to find a way to get back into the work.  I need a sense of progress, a reward, a victory.  In the immoral words of a large, transforming, robot dinosaur, "Me Grimlock need new strategy."

Here it is.  I am going to spend one hour, no more, no less, sanding the fillets in the aft watertight compartment.  I will then set down my sander and glass the bottom of the hull back there.  This will give me a victory, and renewed sense of progress.  The rest of the boat will follow suit.  30 minutes of sanding forward of bulkhead 1.  45 minutes of sanding between bulkheads 1 and 2.  Glass.  One hour of sanding the chines.  One hour sanding everything else forward of Floor 4.  One hour sanding everything else aft of Floor 4.  Glass. Finish.   Move on.

Having a plan, I feel re-energized already.  Now the question is when can I get started?  Not this week.  I had a visit with the doctor earlier this week that left me in stitches.  Laughing aside, the doctor put a few sutures in me that'll come out next week.  Until then, I can really risk banging them around or getting them dirty, so no boat until next week.  Hopefully, after that, though, I should be able to dive back into it.

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