What is a waste is not seeing a project through to completion once you have started it.
Also, its time well spent if the project schedule includes time for aquiring the knowledge and skills required. For example, if you wanted to make say...a Tekken-style game, then you may need to take years out to learn 3D programming and also the art skills to produce characters and their animations in a package such as Maya or Blender.
Godspeed my friend on making that sci-fi racing game! When I left school and got my first job, a copy of Wipeout and a Playstation were my purchase on my first pay check, and I have very fond memories of that time. If you can make a game comparable to Wipeout then you will definitely have my respect at least.