…said no artist, probably ever.
To be honest, it’s one of the hardest thing that I’ve encountered with every creative process I’ve been through; writing, screen writing, directing, podcasting, whatever the medium there’s always that lingering voice of doubt at the back of my head when I reach the perceived end of a project.
Is it really the end?
Just when, exactly, do you know that what you’ve been working so diligently on is at a point where there are no more tweaks to be made, no more major issues to be dealt with, to know that it’s, without any doubt, ‘done’?
Temporary existed as a concept, an idea, for a few years before I decided to novelise it. Honestly, it didn’t even feel like a ‘choice’, more like something I needed to do.
But why? To prove something to myself perhaps. To prove something to other people as well? Maybe. To ensure that Temporary becomes a reality by placing the onus firmly on my own shoulders? Without a doubt.
It was a story that I wanted to tell, one that I want to share; it’s a story that I would want to read if I found this book on the book shelves.
It’s been a while now since I first completed my vomit draft, an achievement in itself because, well, y’know, I’d just finished writing something that will become my first novel. My attempts at maintaining a positive mental attitude lead me to make this claim, taking away any shred of self doubt, though it obviously lingers in the background – an inherent part of the creative process, right? Or is that just me?
Shell is at the stage that I’m hoping Temporary will be at in a few months; it’s pretty much done, it’s kind of there already. Maybe. I think.
It’s happening again, isn’t it?
Shell, which was originally entitled Translucent, is intended for a competition whose deadline is quickly approaching, and I’m fully aware of this shrinking window of time in order to tweak, edit and consider it’s state of completion. It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on it for so long.
It’s gone through a number of redrafts. A lot has been taken out, a few scenarios have been put in, all in the hope of improving the story and its character arcs. I’ve received feedback, both positive and negative, and am ready to take that scary final plunge: signing off on it.
I have no deadlines or agent/publisher breathing down my neck for a completed draft (hopefully one day I can wistfully look back on this), and so the responsibility of deciding when to leave it alone rests, like so many of these projects, on my decision to conclusively say I’ve finished. It’s an intimidating prospect as I’m sure there are elements that can always be finessed and refined, an egregious comma to be taken out or some such other grammatical oversight that could be the difference maker, especially within a competition context.
Is Shell really finished? Is it really at a point where there are no more changes that need to be made?
I don’t know. But I do feel like I’ve managed to craft a tidy, intriguing story within the parameters of the competition and the word count limits it set, which provided a great, fun challenge in itself.
It makes me think on an obvious quote. Obvious, but no less relevant.
The sad, honest truth of it, I suppose, is this: there is no way of knowing.
For the writers out there, how do you know when your project is ‘done’? What stages do you go through in trying to sign off on something? I’d love to know how you deal with it.
If you have any tips, tricks or concepts that could help, I’d love to hear them!