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As a creative person, how do you decide when a piece of work is 'finished'?
I can never be completely happy with something and can't stop editing and tinkering. How do you decide when a project is finished and its time to let it go and move on to the next thing?
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I guess the answer to that question hinges on what the creative plans to do with their work. Is it something they eventually hope to sell, or give to someone, or is it just something they're doing for themselves?

Either of the first two choices means there needs to be a finish point. The latter probably could mean they are at liberty to keep editing or tinkering.

So, I think that needs to be established first. If there's ever an intent to sell or give a creative work to someone, then the next thing to do is to set a reasonable deadline for it to be finished, based on time available, the mastery of the creative, the challenge of the piece, and the date it will be sold or gifted by.

I know from personal experience a deadline is the last thing a creative wants, but to avoid the constant fiddling with it when there's really no need, there needs to be one.

Then, I think there's two rules we all need to remember:

—Unless the person buying or receiving the creative work also does what you do, they're not going to know or care about the time or attention to detail you put into it. All they're going to see is the finished result. Even if they do know, they're going to wonder why you went to so much trouble.

—There is no such thing as the 'perfect' creative work. Perfection in this case, just like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. There is, however, something else that is highly worth it and achievable: good enough.

I used to be a perfectionist. Then, I became an owner and publisher of newspapers with weekly deadlines. It's not necessarily what comes to mind when you think about creatives, but with a newspaper there are plenty of creative people involved who take their work very seriously, and want to do the very best they can. 

Reporters/photographers, editors, graphic designer and the person doing the page layout all are trying to do their best. Unfortunately, they've got short windows to do that, or the paper doesn't go out on time.

Some weeks we struggled to even reach good enough. Perfection would have been far out of reach most weeks.

Incessantly changing the color blue to a lighter shade, or redrawing the same line over and over, or rewriting the same paragraph a thousand times until it sings is more for the creative, not for the potential customer or gift recipient. It's always going to have more meaning to you than it does them. They're never going to know that you did, and if you try to explain it, at best, you will come off as a dedicated creative who really takes their work a little too seriously. At worse, you'll come off as a snob who thinks way too highly of themselves and probably shouldn't quit their day job.

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As a creative person I'd like to think no work of art is ever finished. I think in the end artists are a guide trying bring things into being from a world of pure and unadulterated beauty.

The quality of the work of art depends on how good a guide the artist is. But in the end as guides, artists can only do their best in the job.

It's basically like any other job of that description, as a guide of any thing the most you can do is lead your wards to a certain place, a place from where they can and have to move on by themselves.

This is the same with art.

An artist only has to bring this picture which is the aesthetic object from that imaginative realm and then deposit into the minds of the audience. She has to bring as much of this picture; capture the basic essence of it and the most important aspects.

If they could this to as great an extent and with enough passion and truth and genuinty they would have been able to do it to the extent that the audience would be able to see the picture and experience it and make it as whole as it is in the imaginations.

So basically the ideal work of art is never finished. At any rate it is never finished by the creator. It's only finshed and finalised in the mind of the audience and in their minds alone. The artist can only do his or her best to create enough of the works to spurn the audience into action.

A particularly pertinent law for this is Ernest Hemingway's Iceberg Theory which I'm particularly fond of, seeing as it deals, among other things, with this telepathy between the creator and the audience.

Hemingway's theory states that a work of an art is an iceberg. What's on the face; the thing that's actually brought into form, either by writing or painting or whatnot, is just one-eighth of the bulk of the whole thing--just as iceberg only have 1/8th of its whole bulk on the surface.

The main part of it; the most important most germane part, is always beneath the surface and might not even make it into the palpable word of ink and paper or oils and acrylics.

They would and ideally should remain in the minds of the artists and the audience. They should be communicated almost telepathically. The palpable words in the medium should merely be a sort of connector between these beauty in the imaginary realm that needs to be communicated to the audience.

So basically as a creator no matter what you do and how many words you write your work is never finished; not up to you. You can and should only do your best to make sure you have captured enough of it to make sure that it can finally find completion and fulfillment in the minds of whatever audience the work was intended for.

It also happens to most creatives, the tinkering and editing and chipping here and there hoping to find this completion. All fine. But it should help to have it in mind that no matter what you do- completion isn't up to you. Just do your best and let it go.

Cheers and have a nice day.

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2 Comments

  

I think it is a hard-to-determine process, subject to personality.

Some people allow the work to speak for itself (it says when it is done and you just let it go); others can’t avoid being control freaks, perfectionists, insecure, (maybe?) and for those personality types, the work will never be good enough.

I do not consider myself an artist, a writer, but since Steemit has put me in the position of trying new things, I have given it a try to writing stories and poems and it has been a very interesting experiment, to play the artist, the writer. Since I am not obsessed with perfection (I do my best to do a quality work, but without becoming a neurotic perfectionist), I let the piece of writing gain some autonomy and at some point, without much tinkering, I say to myself: it’s good to go (gut feeling?).

My guess is that some artists work like that, whether they are painters, sculptors, or writers, they establish an unconscious connection with their work and that connection provides some communication that lets them know when the piece does what it is supposed to do. 

We need to do with artistic creations what we do with our children (those who do not have children may not see it that clearly). We bring them to the world, we provide for them when they are helpless (drafts/projects) but as they grow they start sending signs that indicate when they are ready to fly with their own wings. We can’t be perpetually attached to them and expect a healthy relation. If some kids take longer to take off maybe it is because we have not given them the inputs to help them move to the next level or by giving them the impression that we are always going to be there for them, they assume they can always stay attached to us.

If we work on a given artistic project with passion and determination, the result will speak to us at some point and whether we consider it perfect or not, it will also speak to an audience, send a message, perform a function. In any case, a second pair of eyes may be a good way to determine when we can stop obsessing ourselves with our work and consider it done. 

Sometimes an outsider can see what we can’t. But, even if an outsider considers there is something missing in the work, if frustration ensues, it is a good time to wrap up the work. Artistic works should transmit a sense of accomplishment and realization. If we can’t be content with what we are doing, it does not make sense to self-inflict punishment. 

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Creativity really depends  in any of your work  as it gives  more  detail to your work , make your work more beautiful and complete . if you have a creative mind then you would must know that what things should be more necessary for your work and how much detailing does it need more.

Creative person really do know that when does there work is going to have the final touch. When any creative person starts a work he assume that which thing or which part need more work and only a creative person can done this.there are so many things which are important in making a creative work. following are some of it.


Detailing:
Any kind of creative work have a great importance to add complete detailing to it as if you are making a painting and you are making a colourful painting then u should add different colours that justify your painting .and this would make your work look fabulous and extraordinary .


Cleanliness:
If you are doing a creative person’s job or you have any kind of hobby to do it you should need to take care of cleanliness as you should not make it messy by adding extra on it or even not more lesser that it won’t look good .so this could also serve as being a point to know if your creative work is done or not.


Proper editing:
As if you are going to saw your work after half done then you should need to watch it properly as any part more detailing or not r did you have to remove any thing or not or you have to add any other thing in to it. As our audiences or our mentors really looks it after that if we have done it right or not.


Double checking:Double checking is very important to ensure that your work is done or not completely done as if it have be done more or it have some other editing or did anything should be replaced or changed to make it look good.


Conclusion :The conclusion is that we should have have to take count of about every single thing in any creative person’s work . a creative person himself know that when does its piece of work is done or much time would it take more but still taking care of above aspects can make your work completely done and ‘finished’.

Image Source : https://pixabay.com

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As a person that is never contented in my output, I don't consider my work complete until the deadline. This is me saying that this attitude that I wouldn't advise to my fellow creative.

Everyone has their own expectations when it comes to their work, I would say "stick to it". Don't deviate or even set an unrealistic expectation, otherwise it will be an endless development that will lead to you being consumed by it.

I think it's because of the way we compare our work with others. It's fine to look at the works of others and be inspired by it.

However, we have to know our own style and personality to our work. I think it will help us set the kind if expectation that we would realistically achieve. Although it's not easy to come up to your own style and it may take a lot of time, I believe it is possible to achieve it.

Have a great day. Cheers!

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That's a good question. I've been experiencing the same thing when it comes to drawing. 

After I consider a drawing finished, look at it and always find something I'm not satisfied with, there's always something to be added, corrected, a line here, another line there, a shading etc. This is an endless game, if you do this, you'll never finish anything. It's ok to make a few changes but there has to be a line somewhere, you can't edit your artwork forever. 

How you do it? That's a good question. I guess you just put it away, don't think about it any more and start another work. Easier said that done, I know but I can't see another way. 

I'm at the beginning and all I do now is practice, learning. Sometimes I take out an old drawing of mine and do it again and it's always better. This is proof of progress. However, this is just practice, when you're a real artist, you can do that, you can't redo your artworks. 

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I am not a creative person in that way, but I am a bit perfectionist one. As like you I am also used to edit edit edit an article thousand times. But I learned when to give the full stop.

> You would know the moment it's done, you would realize the feeling of satisfaction. 

> If not and your feeling lets you to check again and again, then take a break, hold yourself and ask what value you are going to add by doing another edit.

> All creative person may wants to add a bit more extra to their work. But if they feel that the work is complete and another touch will ruin it, they will hold them from my opinion.

> I give my fullest, my 110%at my first attempt. So it made me sure that my brain could not going to add any extra value to my work.

Give your best at the first attempt, pour your all creativity in to it, take time to review, and when you feel satisfied make yourself believe it's done. That's the way I do things.

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Works started will always finds it endings. 

A Creative work such as novel and literature are most popular in the world where readers are very interested for the next incoming series. 

Many works compose many series,parts, and chapter but why is it some best works ends only in 2 series?.

it is because Piece of work can be finished automatically,  it depends on the readers and the author. if the readers is not interested in your work then it will have it ending soon but if a piece of work is popular to the readers then it can be flex or extend by the author But if the Author thinks that there is no more to add because it was already reach the satisfaction of the author then the author will write a Very satisfactory ending, so that the readers will accept the ending and be satisfied in that piece of work.

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That is a gut decision. I know intuitively when a creative process is finished. It is a ‘Yes, that is it’ feeling. Nothing more or less. If there are any second thoughts it is not finished. That’s it. At least for me.

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@Nathen007, In my case it's all about the Intuition and Intuition will tell that now it's reached till where this particular work has to be reached. And yes, sometimes nothing can satisfy us and that's really difficult moments and in that moment we have to control our emotions because, in my opinion most of the people when fail to get the satisfaction from their work then they start questioning their potential but that's not the case, we human beings are tackling with many dynamic situations and in those moments may be we try to find unsatisfactory aspects in our work too.

Wishing you an great day and stay blessed. 🙂

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Depends...

With WRITING content on Steemit, I’ve gotten to the point where I usual write posts in one shot, no turning back to edit, done when it’s reached the end.

With MUSIC, it’s an entirely different matter and nowhere near as simple.

There, the temptation exists to go on tweaking indefinitely. Sometimes, there are projects I know that’ll take months or perhaps even years to bring to proper completion, that aren’t to be rushed. Sometimes as they come together, there just comes a point of awareness that continuing to push onwards would be overkill. And sometimes around that point, my hearing goes wonky at it starts sounds weird and warped - a clear sign I’ve passed the finish mark, or at least need to step away for some time and come back later with fresh ears to touch up if needed.

Every piece is slightly different, though they’d usually fall into these guidelines.

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