Today I finished a painting...Or did I?
My partner, writer Paul Read, is in a state of permanent despair over my apparent reluctance to call a project done.
A few days ago he asked me when my current painting would be finished.
Despite having set a target date for the end of September, I had to reply that I didn’t know.
“Don’t just start. Continue. Ship. Repeat.”
To me, these kind of questions are the equivalent to "How long is a piece of string?" - more reminiscent of a Zen koan than a calendar entry.
To my other half, its a big red circle on his agenda. "I said I’d finish it by today, so given it is today, it must be finished."
Seth Godin calls this 'shipping'.
Being Prolific = Finishing
Paul’s idea is that we can always do more on any project and it is simply a question of saying enough is enough. For him, this approach results in a prolific output rate of which I always feel jealous - apart from during my 365 project.
As we progress with our craft, we inevitably learn more skill so it is not surprising that we can look back at a piece we did some months ago with new insight into what it might need.
Stephen King recommends leaving your finished manuscript in a drawer for a while and then coming back to it. Distance lends perspective after all.
Today I called The Lost Palace done, albeit provisionally.
I reserve the right to change my mind ;)
"Art is never finished, only abandoned."
Do you know when you're done?