Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

When to Call it Done

In music, the first takes are usually the best – warts and all. It’s a hard concept to grasp if you’re an artist, if only because you want your creation to be perfect. But here’s the thing: Nothing is ever perfect, and it would probably be boring if it was.

Musicians are notorious for never finishing anything, because they’re constantly tinkering and polishing – until the thing is no longer alive, it’s dead. You polished the life out of it.

Does that mean you ship something with mistakes?

If you’ve captured the idea you were trying to get across, yes it does.

If mistakes worked for Bob Dylan and Miles Davis, then they’ll work for you. Caveat: In Dylan and Miles’s case, they were masters at conveying their art in a way that connected deeply with the listener. Few of us are this gifted, but you’ll certainly never get there if you can’t finish anything.

Does this axiom apply to other art forms as well?

It’s an idea worth exploring.