Back when I was in film school I had a class where of all things we would make short films. We'd work in groups, not together, but at the same time. So that when it was time for us to edit our pieces inevitably we would find the same group of people in the edit lab with us, staring blearily at each other and complaining about anything at hand rather than dealing with our films.
When we did turn back to our films, and the hours grew late we often sat there noodling with a few frames, trying to make it as perfect as possible. In discussion it would come up that none of us ever felt like our films were really perfect, we'd just had to stop working on them. At some point a quote started showing up repeatedly, "a film is never finished, only abandoned." None of us ever felt like we finished a single film, we'd just finally had to abandon them.
Being film students we of course attributed this quote to Woody Allen, who is very quotable in film school. A quick google search however has led me to conclude that not only was it not said by Woody Allen, it was not about film at all.
"A poem is never finished, only abandoned." - Paul Valery
Which is very pertinent to me as I have come to the conclusion that this quote can be applied to any form of art. How many sculptures have I looked at, seen some small flaws, and decided that life simply had to go on and the flaws would be okay. Perhaps they would add character.
Now I am in the process of finishing the first novel I have ever written. I have legitamately abandoned a great many stories in my career as a "maybe I'll be a writer" which started back when I was maybe 6 or 7. This time it is different though, this time I have a beginning, middle and an end. It still needs a great deal of work right now, but as I noodle with words like I used to noodle with frames, I have to wonder when I'll be ready to abandon it.
So what is the point of this self-important musings? I suppose that I take comfort in this way of thinking. My writing, my story will never be perfect, I will just abandon it one day. Perhaps I don't need to stress out so much about it.
And if I can get paid to abandon it, that would be great too.