When do you stop? When do you kill a project that you’ve embarked upon that just isn’t going to make the grade? It’s a question that plagues all artists, from painters to photographers to filmmakers to writers to musicians. The answer, I thought, had something to do with the amount of damage caused to the forehead after it’s been slammed against the wall of frustration repeatedly. Nope. Those wounds heal, the obsession to “get it right” returns, and once again the piece that was definitively in the trash is back up on the desk in all its mediocre glory.
I wish there was some sort of criteria, or litmus test, or list of checkboxes somewhere that could offer a clue as to when it’s time to slurp down a large whiskey, grab your 45, and take your project out to a desolate forest, but their isn’t. And none will ever exist. Because, until you go too far, and you’re left with the disparaging feeling that the time spent on a dog idea has been forever lost, you won’t develop the instincts to call a “no joy” on your bad ideas yet to come.