Trial and Error is Better Than a Bottle of Whine

trialI had almost a whole blog finished this evening, one about deer ticks and broken teeth and watching Face Off. But when I reread it, all I saw was creatively written whine.  The beautiful thing about typing on a computer is that with one sweep I can delete it all.

But what about second thoughts? What if I destroy something that one day may be my Pulitzer Prize?

I imagine my friends in other arts have the same dilemma. Graphic art, photography, writing, pottery — there’s always those pieces that you gave your heart and soul to and it still sucks. So you redo it. Rewrite it. Re-form it.

But how many times to you redo it?

I would love to hear from my graphic artist friends or sculptor friends or my scrapbooking friends. How many times to you redo something to get it “perfect”? And if you DO redo it, HOW do you do it?

Writing is simple yet complex. Often my stories, novels, poems, and other ditties start out with notes or research of some kind. Not like the Encyclopedia Britannica, but I try and create an ocean of information so that I can eventually reduce it to a cup full of water. Quite like my research for my Sunday Evening Art Gallery. Writing about Doors? Collect images of 30 different doors so I can choose 8. Writing about Nail Art? Download 20 images so you can share 7. Writing about life in 1880? Better check out things like electricity, transportation, and currency, even if the reference is only a couple of sentences long.

I keep every other version of my creations, cutting here, adding there, rearranging when needed. As the years go by I get rid of the middle versions — I’ve either moved forward and created a masterpiece, or it just hasn’t “done it” for me. I have a computer full of half-formed ideas, research that goes nowhere, poetry that needs real work. I decide what I want to work on, what I still need to research, and what was a great idea at the time but now, no thank you.

How do you deal with developing your craft? Do you network? Do you draw a basic image and then play with that same image until you get what you want? Do you you have pages and pages of canvas that hold various versions of your final masterpiece? Do you have stacks of pottery that look nothing like what you wanted to create?

My notebooks are glimpses of my thoughts through time. I’ve kept some since I started writing in earnest years ago. It’s fun going back and seeing my thought processes through the years. Sometimes I go back and reignite the embers that once burned brightly. Other times I just smile and see why the ideas are still only in a notebook.

I think beginner crafters can learn from our paths of trial and error. The thrill of creating something unique is made from the sweat and love and honesty that comes from somewhere deep inside. Some pick one idea, one idea, and stick with it from beginning to end. Others have trial and error experiences, realizing a particular path was pretty much a dead end from the beginning. So we choose a different path. A different path in the same endless woods.

I feel so much better when I write about the Craft. If I ever unlocked the door to the Hallway of Infinite Doors, I would find worlds that I love almost as well — drawing, stenciling, jewelry making, gardening. I would never have a life because my life would exist in the next dimension — the ethereal one. The Creative Arts one. I only hope you feel that way about your Craft too.

Oh, btw — the tick bite wasn’t infected, my broken tooth gets fixed in the morning, and Face Off is down to its final three.

Life is good.

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10 thoughts on “Trial and Error is Better Than a Bottle of Whine

  1. I tend to save all my photos for at least a year.
    If I retouch one and hate it, I’ll do it once more.
    If I still hate it, I move on to the next and usually do expired photo inventory once a year.
    It is hard to delete something close to the creation date because we have vested emotion into it, even if it sucks.

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    1. I so love to hear from other Crafts — especially photography. I know for myself that when I get into a photo-shoot mood, I tend to take way too many pics. I save the good ones, Photoshop (if I can, as it’s at work) the ones that have potential, and have started a folder on my computer. I so agree, though — It is hard to delete something close to the creation date, because we DO have some sort of emotion locked into it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have done it in the first place.

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  2. I always have a “junk document” or “junk folder” for any project I’m working on. If I need to cut something out, I always throw it in the junk folder and promise myself I can always retrieve it from there if I need it in the future. It’s a good way to let myself relax about cutting things. The funny thing is I’ve been doing this about nine months now and I’ve never once actually gone back into a junk folder for something. But psychologically somehow it helps me accept that I can cut things without “losing” them forever. Nice post, I really liked it 🙂
    -Tom

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    1. I so agree! It’s like I can’t bare to part with such “great” verbiage — except it’s probably neither “great” nor verbiage. I am constantly trying to “rearrange” my computer folders; some stories/novels have a lot more folders than others. I love to hear you are writing. I find it great therapy, along with just an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. Thank you for checking in!

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  3. I don’t have a lot of files of creative work I never finished. I have a novel that will likely never see the light of day, and a short story that maybe one day will (or will be developed into a novel). But I do have a lot of ideas for blog posts. I jot them down, sketch something out, and then file them away and promptly forget about them.

    Good luck with the tooth fixing!

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    1. Thank you! Back from tooth check up — need to get it pulled. Ahh….middle age. Post middle age. I like your writing organization. I really should go back to those stories I started 10 years ago and hit the delete button — I don’t even know where I was going in half of them. The computer may have buco storage space, but…like my closet….

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  4. I don;t keep earlier drafts of my blogs or my poetry. But I kept the early drafts (with corrections) of my novel. Just in case anyone down the line claimed it was their work. I can show my first draft with my writing coach’s notes in the margin. But everything else…. not sure I want to see the rejected versions ever again. Of course though, I have little notepads full of ideas and sentences.

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    1. I am very much like you. I like to keep the early drafts so I can see how much better I am today. The notes show me my thinking processes. I used to keep a folder of “cuts”: phrases and paragraphs that sounded wonderful but didn’t fit or wasnt necessary to the plot line. But I admit I haven’t visited those files in quite a while.

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