Almost sucks. - Jon Acuff
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Almost sucks.

For decades, I wrote a lot of “almost books.”

I wrote thousands of words, dozens of chapters and even got one illustrated by an amazing artist.

And nothing ever happened with them.

Why?

Because I was afraid to turn my almost books into finished books.

Right now, you’ve got some almost in your life too. We all do.

The problem is that almost sucks.

It gives you the nice, safe illusion of mattering. You get a percentage of the good feeling you get from actually completely something. You get to feel like maybe you will do that someday. Maybe someday it won’t be an almost project.

The truth is that almost never changes to finished unless you do it.

How do you do that?

Simple, stop your almost project right where you are, right now.

Put a stake in it. Surprise your fear by sneak attacking it with an unexpected finish line.

Is your book done? Maybe not. Is your painting complete? Maybe not. Is your blog perfect? Maybe not.

It doesn’t matter because this is not the last thing you’ll do. This is the first thing you’ll finish.

If you have something that’s been hanging around for years, I dare you to finish it. Today, sooner than your fear thought, sooner than you were ready for.

Finish it because almost sucks.

44 Comments
  • Lolly
    Posted at 04:15h, 31 October Reply

    “It doesn’t matter because this is not the last thing you do. This is the first thing you will finish.” #ShouldBeALibbyDoodle

    • David Mike
      Posted at 07:06h, 31 October Reply

      This is true!

    • HeatherEV
      Posted at 17:37h, 31 October Reply

      Yes! Definitely should be a Libby Doodle! (Wishing I could summon people like I can on Facebook!)

  • LarryTheDeuce
    Posted at 04:57h, 31 October Reply

    Jon, I have an ebook that I’ve been working for a few months. September and October crashed in on me. Two projects, a seasonal ministry and a blog series are done. I’m going to finish it this month. Then when I polish it up and clean it up, I’m going to give it away to those who read my blog.

  • Sharon Ciraulo
    Posted at 05:24h, 31 October Reply

    I love this! I want to practice this today by shifting my mindset and trying to find things that are “almost” done. I have a feeling I won’t have a hard time finding my first project to put a stake in.

  • Joey E
    Posted at 06:45h, 31 October Reply

    Perfectly timed for NaNoWriMo.

    • Jon Acuff
      Posted at 07:31h, 31 October Reply

      Awesome. I hope you kill it starting tomorrow!

    • Judith Heaney-McKee
      Posted at 10:18h, 31 October Reply

      exactly what I was thinking!

    • Cindy
      Posted at 10:43h, 31 October Reply

      Ha! Great minds think alike! Not to mention this is a great kick in the pants to actually edit my NaNo novel after November is over.

    • TariVanari
      Posted at 13:30h, 31 October Reply

      Definitely my thought! Nanowrimo is my first step toward finally finishing my novel.

    • The World Why Web
      Posted at 14:03h, 31 October Reply

      Thanks, Joey.

      I had never heard of NaNoWriMo until you mentioned it.

      Looks like I just found me another project I don’t need to start.

      But it does sound like fun! See you at the finish line on November 30.

  • Tami Fenton
    Posted at 06:48h, 31 October Reply

    Aww Man. I hate it when it seems like my best friend called you up and said, “Hey Jon, call Tami out today. No really. Make her squirm.” But thanks for the kick start…kinda

  • David Mike
    Posted at 07:07h, 31 October Reply

    Truth and dare! I see what you did there. Thanks for the inspiration Jon!

  • Patrick Mitchell
    Posted at 07:17h, 31 October Reply

    I wonder how many people will read this and almost make a change? Don’t be that person!

  • Theresa
    Posted at 08:11h, 31 October Reply

    Wow Jon. This was exactly what I needed to hear. My husband and I are trying finishing an Children’s Advent Book…but time is ticking! This was great motivation to finish!

  • zechariah
    Posted at 08:35h, 31 October Reply

    I have an e-book that I give away for free to people that sign up to subscribe to my blog. It is a faith-based approach to finding your path in this world. Well I had it almost done for months. One day two weeks ago I got tired of it and finished it because I wasn’t picking up subscribers quick enough. Traffic has doubled in two weeks. It is amazing what can happen when we finish are almosts even when they aren’t perfect.

  • Jim
    Posted at 08:49h, 31 October Reply

    Almost goes hand in hand with coulda woulda shoulda. The saddest words in the English language.

  • patricklmitchell
    Posted at 09:09h, 31 October Reply

    I come back to this thinking about regrets and how much of those will be the “almosts” of life… We won’t regret mistakes; we’ll regret missed opportunities–the almosts and somedays.

  • Derek Giles
    Posted at 09:28h, 31 October Reply

    WOW!!! This is definitely a good way to start a Thursday morning with! This should get you motivated to bite the bullet and finish the unfinished

  • Alice
    Posted at 09:31h, 31 October Reply

    The only things standing in the way of finishing my EP are scheduling and money. But I have a plan for both and am not letting up! Thanks for the reminder, Jon!

  • Steve
    Posted at 09:43h, 31 October Reply

    I hate almost. It’s like getting invited to an awards banquet where you don’t receive an award.

  • Crysti Caro
    Posted at 10:09h, 31 October Reply

    Thanks! I needed to hear this. I just started my entire blog over. Had a nightmare getting it up and running and lost my old posts. But I did it! Have published 2 new posts this week. And tomorrow I start Nanowrimo for the first time. I will write a novel in 30 days, even if it sucks!

  • Chavos
    Posted at 10:21h, 31 October Reply

    OUCH and Amen! I needed to read this today. I have been working on my book project for three years and “almost” done has been really sucky lately. Thanks for the motivation today!

  • Kartika R Anderson
    Posted at 11:47h, 31 October Reply

    Hi Jon! I absolutely love this entry! May I use it for a guest blog on my WordPress blog?
    http://myblueisblue.wordpress.com/

  • Pamela Hodges
    Posted at 11:47h, 31 October Reply

    Yes, you are right.
    Almost sucks.
    I almost finished my book before my hard-drive crashed. Luckily I had printed it out. Now I will finish it, illustrate it, and ship it out. (And back it up!)

  • Grant Diamond
    Posted at 11:49h, 31 October Reply

    Great stuff Jon, as an “almost” guy I appreciate the call out to leave the false safety of “almost” behind and start finishing! You’re a blessing.

  • TJ McCoy
    Posted at 11:49h, 31 October Reply

    “Done is better than perfect.” – Mark Zuckerburg.

  • Ashley VanSickle
    Posted at 11:52h, 31 October Reply

    LOVE THIS! Reminds me of when you did the “finish” challenge at the end of the year (last year?). I don’t plan to start anything new between now and New Year’s, but rather finish everything I started. Thanks for the motivation!

  • Erica Mueller
    Posted at 11:56h, 31 October Reply

    I needed this today. We are ALMOST on a project that’s been coming for years. Finish line is next week!

  • Margo McKinney
    Posted at 11:57h, 31 October Reply

    Oh man, I do so enjoy blaming my unfinished aromatherapy classes on football season, then combine, draft, free agency, spring training, training camp, preseason, regular season… Darn football keeps me from doing anything.

  • Elisabeth C.
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 October Reply

    My problem with ‘almost’ is that it’s not *my* perfect and I feel incompetent if it’s not perfect. It is a bad cycle for myself. So I leave most things unfinished.

  • April
    Posted at 12:19h, 31 October Reply

    Wait, you’re only asking me to finish ONE of my almost projects, right?
    That’s not so bad.
    Once I decide which one to put a stake in…
    Indecisiveness can put a stake in putting the stake in almost.

  • The World Why Web
    Posted at 12:36h, 31 October Reply

    Good post, Jon to us “dreamers”.

    I don’t know about you, but I find “almost” as being one of the down sides of being a dreamer. As a dreamer I am always starting new things which become “almosts”.

    Will that be a chapter in your wife’s new book?

  • MTG Recording Studio
    Posted at 13:08h, 31 October Reply

    I’ve been working on an artist project since February, This week I decided it’s time to finish it and move on. Guess what, I did and the artist is happy. Glad I found you again Jon

  • Jana Greene
    Posted at 13:24h, 31 October Reply

    Been fixin’ to (as we say in the South) write a book for – oh…about ten years now. Lately, I’ve been getting serious about it. Thank you for your encouragement (for we “multitaskers,”) Love your new blog, btw!

  • Anthony Stauffer
    Posted at 14:08h, 31 October Reply

    This is one of my favorite things that you’ve ever written. I love it.

  • Adam Martin
    Posted at 14:56h, 31 October Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. Almost leads to procrastination. You have to take a chance at some point.

  • Joel Ball
    Posted at 16:41h, 31 October Reply

    Almost doesn’t always suck. Such as in the case of horse shoes and hand grenades…

    Inspiring post!

  • Stacy Z
    Posted at 23:53h, 31 October Reply

    Yes! I finally finished my first book this summer – a devotional for military wives like me and not really the “niche” I thought I’d start in – but the idea was there, the urging was there and God has helped it reach hundreds of military wives. Couldn’t have reached them if I never finished.

  • Juanita Schulze
    Posted at 09:47h, 02 November Reply

    You are right on the money, Jon, as usual. Yes, I have a lot of unfinished projects. This is a great way to look at it. It won’t be the last thing I do; it will be the first thing in a long line of things that I actually finish! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • patrick
    Posted at 15:25h, 02 November Reply

    I think the fear of failure is the culprit here…at least for me. It’s easy to have a project always ‘in process’ because unfinished projects don’t get judged and thereby YOU don’t get judged. This is especially true with ‘creative’ types. Finishing means holding the end product up and wide open for scrutiny. Finishing means putting on your armor and getting ready for the critics. Sometimes, it’s just too tough to handle it, so you just hang around and that way you can talk about how you are close to complete, or almost there, and get the kudos for being a writer/painters/artist/whatever without actually having to put it out there and be judged.

    • Chavos
      Posted at 12:37h, 05 November Reply

      You nailed it…so true!

    • LaVena
      Posted at 11:22h, 06 November Reply

      Wow, do you know me? DITTO!

  • LaVena
    Posted at 11:20h, 06 November Reply

    Thank you so much for your post. Very inspirational and motivational. Appreciate your words.

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