|Not this art. This is simply spectacular. |
Cover art for ITHAKA RISING by Chris Howard
There is a cycle to the creative process. It probably differs for different kinds of artists, but mine goes something like this:
- New idea : Oooh, shiny, this is so exciting. I feel like I'm filled with champagne bubbles.
- First road block : Ugh. This is hard. Why did I choose this idea? This isn't working.
- Regroup : Okay. This may work. Focus on getting words down for the draft. Nothing has to be perfect.
- Second road block : Ugh. This is hard. Why did I choose this idea? This isn't working.
- Regroup, redux : Okay. Let's try this. This may work better. Focus on getting words down for the draft. Nothing has to be perfect.
- Third road block . . .
- Finished draft : I never, ever want to look at this sucker again. It's terrible. It's a hot mess. I'm never going to make sense of it.
- Seek feedback (cue terror and self loathing) : I'm so sick of this project, I can't look at it objectively. Please tell me if there's anything worth salvaging here.
- Assess feedback : Oh god, I should throw my computer out the window and never write again. . . . Oh, wait, there are some good comments in here. I can work with this. Yeah. I can totally work with this.
- Revise, revise, revise : repeat feedback stage as needed.
- Decide you are done : If I change another word, I'm only going to make it worse. It's as good as I am capable of at this moment.
And that's when the anxiety hits me full force. I KNOW I've done everything I could possibly do with the work. I'm just afraid it won't be enough. Or even if it is 'enough' (a mythical standard, anyway), it'll just languish and be ignored.
The thing is, I know this. I know it's a cycle. I've been through it numerous times. And I still get caught up in it. EVERY FREAKING TIME.
Now it's gotten me good - I have two projects that will get released into the wilds nearly at the same time: The audiobook for DERELICT and the print and eBook of its sequel ITHAKA RISING.
I'll just be here in my blanket fort quietly freaking out.