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Completing Projects Successfully

March '10

I listened to a wonderfully charming interview with Japanese pianist, Hiromi Uehara on NPR last Sunday, while driving home from brunch in Boston. In describing the composition, “Choux a la Crème,” written to convey the sensation of eating a cream puff, Uehara said, “I was just walking down the street in France and I was looking for a bakery. And when you’re aiming for something that you love, your happiness just goes up every minute.”

I thought to myself, “This pianist put her finger on an important key for finishing any large project – you have to love it. In last month’s newsletter, I promised to share lessons I learned from writing The Midlife Woman’s Journal: 9 Weeks to Discover More Inside You (The MWJ).

Once you set a clear intention to embark on any project, passion is the first necessary ingredient. If you cannot locate excitement for developing your idea, drop it like a hot potato. You will not have the necessary energy to sustain your effort – especially when you encounter bumps in the road ahead.

Any extensive project like creating a book also demands an effective time-management system. The purpose of such a system is to free your mind up for greater activities than trying to remember what you are supposed to be doing and where you are supposed to be.  It should give you a feeling of control over your life – at least control over those events you can control. There are no promises about computer break-downs, traffic jams and flooded basements – all of which I encountered in the last week!

A good system yields this result by organizing, tracking, and reviewing the bits of information you carry around in your head. In addition, to state the obvious, if your project doesn’t to make it into your planner, it’s probably not going to happen. When you enter project tasks into your planner, be sure to chunk them down into chewable bites you can consume easily on a daily basis.

A final ingredient in the recipe for successful completion of any large undertaking is structured personal support. Last spring, when I decided to write a book for women at midlife, I signed up for a short, book-writing course with book coach, Lisa Tener. Later, to spur my efforts along, I formed a small, book-writing group with a few folks from the class. We met every week over the summer to review our writing and encourage one another. In the fall, I enrolled in a longer, book-writing course of Lisa’s and by January had a first draft of the MWJ in hand. A strong personal support structure can move things along like magic.

While passion, an effective time-management system and a personal support structure are not the only keys for completing a large project successfully, they do provide you with a solid, three-legged stool. By using this particular platform, I was able to finish the MWJ and mint a pre-publication copy in less than a year.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the MWJ (which I’m selling at cost for $28 in order to get feedback from readers), you can contact me via email coach@bonnieleonard.com or by phone 401.295.5115.  Meanwhile, good luck with any big enterprise you are considering, or may have already undertaken. Why not apply the three-legged stool approach?

Happy Spring,


  1. Robin Jarrell said on March 31, 2010:

    Bonnie, my copies of MWJ arrived and they are just amazing. I can’t wait to give them to some friends I know who are going through this crazy time and need some guidance — but with themselves as the guide. You’ve done an expert job of being midwife without being intrusive. I would recommend this journal to every woman i know. Also, I’m keeping one for myself! Thank you!

  2. Bonnie said on April 1, 2010:

    Hi Robin!

    I’m delighted to hear the MWJ can help guide folks through a “crazy times” transition.


  3. Julie said on April 1, 2010:

    MWJ has been birthed. Congratulations Bonnie. You are an inspiration. We’re lucky to have it out in this world. And to have you!

  4. Bonnie said on April 6, 2010:

    Thanks, Julie! Your feedback during the writing process was wonderfully helpful.


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