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The Big Thing: How to Complete Your Creative Project Even if You're a Lazy, Self-Doubting Procrastinator Like Me
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The Big Thing: How to Complete Your Creative Project Even if You're a Lazy, Self-Doubting Procrastinator Like Me

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  198 ratings  ·  56 reviews
A New York Times business journalist explains why it’s important for people to pursue big creative projects and identifies both the obstacles and the productive habits that emerge on the path to completion—including her own experience writing this book.

Whether it’s the Great American Novel or a groundbreaking new app, many people want to create a Big Thing, but finding the
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 9th 2016 by Harper
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Average rating 3.23  · 
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 ·  198 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Start your review of The Big Thing: How to Complete Your Creative Project Even if You're a Lazy, Self-Doubting Procrastinator Like Me
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Let me save you the time. Set deadlines and get someone to hold you to them if that is what you need. Meanwhile, get enough sleep, sit up straight, and breathe deeply.
João Guilherme Brotto
I was expecting something like a real "how to" - as the title suggests - full of techniques, tools and good stories. But the book is not practical at all. It seems more like a personal project of the author to show to herself that she could do her big thing. The stories are not very well connected and sometimes is a lot of blablabla. The reading is quite boring.

Anyway, If you want to achieve your big thing, here are my tips:

1 - Be absolutely passionate about it.
2 - Eat well
3 - Take care of your
Shari Strong
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
I have such mixed feelings about this book. There were chapters that were so incredibly helpful to me, and I took tons of notes, especially at the beginning. Her insights about writer's block and self-doubt and procrastination were spot on and so, sooo helpful. On the other hand, there were entire chapters that seemed irrelevant to my situation. I didn't really enjoy all the interviews with various subjects. That aspect of the book was very journalistic (which makes sense; Korkki is a journalist ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very useful as I consider my next Big Thing, even though I'm not completely sure what that Big Thing is at the moment. Finally, a book by a creative person who admits to being less-disciplined than would seem to be the ideal (e.g., Beethoven and his precisely-brewed cups of coffee every morning). Useful considerations of the intersection between work and "work," work and love. Worthwhile reading for any creative or anyone who wants to be creative.
Nayad Monroe
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this book so much that I was surprised to see reviews from other people who griped about it. It's a book about the process of completing a big, personal project of any kind. The author wrote about her struggles and the things she learned while completing her own big project... which was writing this book. I loved that premise, as well as the many angles she covered while discovering different approaches to try as she learned how to do this challenging task. She got ideas from interview ...more
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This book was very Meta (self-acknowledged), which had me hesitating at a few moments, but the book really came through for me! Since the book wasn’t simply a description of the trials and challenges the author was working through in her own journey, it really kept me interested. I loved that Korkki was willing to give anything a shot and worked with a variety of experts to get their perspectives as well.

Though I think this book would be fantastic for many people, part of me kept wanting to say
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as an e-galley. I found a lot of takeaways from this book. Plenty of self-help books from Barbara Sher or books like "Power of Habit" already talk about the importance of goal-setting or finding your passion. This book examines the author's struggle to write and dispenses advice (via experts) as well as takes the advice herself. I found this book to be a reassuring piece on the process of finding a way to create something big in life - how a person might feel compelled to fi ...more
Jeremy Candelas
Nov 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Korkki explores an interesting subject, and yet her book is incredibly lacking. The writing often comes across as redundant, and is packed with obvious filler material. The author writes in a meta-style, consistently referring to the fact she is finishing the chapter in the eleventh hour. That was evident in the writing itself, however. It seemed that Korkki lacked passion in finishing her own "Big Thing."
Alicia McKenzie
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is perfect for creative people working on a project that is taking a very long time to complete. Phyllis Korkki is a great example of persistence and strong desire enabling a person to finish their dream project. I am so happy I read this because it has helped me believe that I will finish writing my long gestating fantasy novel.
Nicole Roccas
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is basically a creative nonfiction work about writing a book. The author has long wanted to write a book but could never manage the long-term inertia to get it done--so she wrote her book about getting a book finished (this one). It sounds a bit circuitous but somehow the author makes it work.

The result is an engaging synthesis of in-the-moment experiences as well as strategies the author uses and research she conducts on how other people map out long-term creative projects. It is not a se
This is a case of seeing something on the library's acquisition list and thinking, "OK...let's see what this can possibly be."

And now that I've read it, I can only think, "WTF was that?"
And my other question is "How is it that talented writers with manuscripts in hand can't get a foot in the door of a agent's office/publishing house, but HarperCollins was willing to offer a contract and cut an advance for THIS? How do you sell the idea of a book about writing a book when you've never written a
Jun 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
So I was going to give this two stars and then I decided not to finish it, so down to one star it goes. It seemed to start out pretty well, but quickly lost focus and structure. I felt like each chapter was just a series of tangents on the same subject that were loosely tied together at the end to relate back to the "big thing." Like other reviewers I also found it repetitive and unclear. The title proclaims it a self-help book, but instead of offering clear strategies to help complete your proj ...more
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
It was scattered and at times lackluster but I enjoyed the hodgepodge of ideas that came together - there was a bit of something for everyone.

"And it may be the ultimate in narcissism not to do your big thing because when you don't do it, it can remain vague and perfect in your mind and allow you to nestle in the illusion of your greatness. Once you buckle down and try to do it, you are confronted with uncertainty and imperfection at every turn. It's hard and your efforts are so paltry compared
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
This book was fine. It had some gems and some great insights, but also some weird stuff ( threw a chapter on dating in there? Because it was "for the book"? Date away, but I don't need to hear about your dating experiences as a random chapter in your "big thing" book).

I did this on audio, and I'm glad I did - I think in print it might have been a DNF. I could fall asleep to this book, and never once needed to or felt the urge to back up to find the spot I fell asleep and see what pa
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book if you want a system that helps you complete items. It's pretty standard fare, and compares well with other systems of this sort.

I read this less for the system than for inspiration in completing a project. It seems to be a standard symptom that I start a project, and then read books like this to help keep myself motivated to finish the project. I adopt portions of the systems and exercise them, helping me to maintain enthusiasm for the project otherwise I would have burned out on an
I abandoned this book at the half way mark. I can't recall why I bought it, but it must have been a recommendation of some sort. I wanted to like it but finally realized that I've already completed several very large creative projects and I'm not a self-doubter, so much of what Korkki was exploring simply didn't apply to me. The stack of books I want to read is tall so I decided that this was one I was willing to forego.
Jack Oughton
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Likely that you'll not learn much from this book - but you will get to read some fascinating case studies about people from all walks of life, and of all ages - finally pursuing their 'big thing' (i.e big creative project - thing they want to do with their life, but haven't, yet...). This is reassuring and inspiring.

Don't die with your music still in you.
Linda Santavicca
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not a self-help book nor any newsflash on how to achieve our lifetime goals, however, I gleaned much from chapter 7 - "Through the Ages." Our desires, dreams and goals change as we change with the times. Life happens and thus, other aspects come into play. We may no longer have the emotional or spiritual zeal to invest in what initially mattered to us in our fervent years. That given, do we hold or do we fold?
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it
The author explores ways to improve the outcome of a big thing, that is, a dearest creative project, so you can go beyond your laziness and procrastination. I have come to realize that the most important thing to do in order to finish a big creative project is this: understand what motivates you, and creates a structure to support that.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I got a couple of good ideas from it, but ultimately I found it frustrating - the author worked so hard to be honest about her flaws and struggles that I got none of her joy. When it shows up in other people's stories, the contrast is startling.

(also don't fatshame ffs)
Jan 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
The cute title should have been a clue. A badly written mess, written like an article in a women’s magazine, with lots of “experts” spouting self-evident truths as profundities. I slogged through 20% of this before quitting. I learned nothing except to avoid cuteness.
Jim Przybelski
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
A book about motivation and follow through. You can get the same elsewhere, but she does so from the perspective of someone who suffers from the same deficits in these areas that many of us do, which makes it very relatable.
Not really a "how-to" guide as the title suggests, though the people she interviews are interesting and her writing style is engaging.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Ugh. I like books that give concrete ideas or steps. This didn't do it.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Interesting and useful discussion of what gets in the way, and what helps, in pursuing a big project. The book was the author's big thing and she shares her own challenges as she goes.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: working
This was the perfect book at the perfect time. I began reading thinking of my PhD as the Big Thing. But as the author shows, there may be multiple Big Things. Very interesting, hopeful and useful.
Lígia Chiari
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book has many useful tips and good research but somehow it was a very slow read. It didn’t catch me and it felt a little repetitive.
Ed Herjavec
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very helpful at prepping to do your "big project."
Aaron Cash
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
This book offers pretty good strategy
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: work
Finished this up today, and it has a lot of good advice, and at the very least makes you feel a little better about where you are with your own "Big Thing".
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