“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” -Leonardo da Vinci
Those of you who’ve been following my blog, or those of you who got here by following the link in my ebook, will know that I’ve recently published a book that I’ve been working on for quite a while. It’s called The Devil’s Mouth, and it’s on the the Kindle store.
Having begun this post with a quote about art, I have to stipulate that I think it’s a stretch to call a book about a katana-wielding rockabilly cowboy vampire hunter “art.” But the sentiment still applies. Is anybody ever really finished with anything creative? Or do you just get sick of it, or run out of time? If Leonardo da Vinci were here today and he took a look at the Mona Lisa, he’d probably have to go get his paint brushes and touch up her eyebrows or something. Fun fact, da Vinci worked on the Mona Lisa for over ten years. Because it’s never perfect. And if (like me) you’re working on your own schedule, the only deadlines you have are the ones you impose on yourself. So it’s almost impossible to draw a line and say that something is done. But eventually you have to.
And damn does it feel good when you finally do.
It’s been a long road. From a rough outline, a crazy idea and a few scribbles in a notebook, to a finished, polished final product, something I can look at and say, “I did that.”
After reams of paper, printer cartridges, notebooks, pens, drafts and drafts and drafts, revisions, proofreading, beta reads, feedback, revisions. . . it’s done. It’s done.
While it’s incredibly validating to see the finished product, to hold your book in your hand and see people enjoying it, a large part of the satisfaction is just having the damned thing finished. To know that the product has shipped. The bird has flown. I can’t change it now it I wanted to, thank God. Even though I can’t read a sentence of it without wanting to shuffle words around, I can’t anymore. It’s out of my hands. It’s done.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the process, or I wouldn’t be doing it. I love creating. I love watching these characters developing, seemingly of their own accord, the plot twists that surprise even me. I love the lightbulb moment while I’m washing dishes or taking a shower. I love getting dialed into an editing trance and realizing that it got dark while I wasn’t paying attention.
For me, there’s always a part of my brain chewing on stories. I’ve probably got five or six going now. They come and go as they please, plot elements bouncing around in my head like bingo balls, searching for the right configuration, waiting for the tumblers to line up. They were there even before I started writing. Hell, that’s probably why I started writing. Because the only way to get rid of them is to write them down and finish them.
Still, The Devil’s Mouth has taken up the majority of my imagination RAM for quite a while. There’s a peculiar feeling of lostness, like my brain doesn’t quite know what to do now. My imagination is like that old guy in The Shawshank Redemption who got out of prison and didn’t know what the hell to do with himself.
It’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. But it’s a strange feeling all the same. It’s done.
Welp, time to get to work on the next one.