"Art is never finished, only abandoned." -Leonardo da Vinci
Da Vinci's famous quote speaks to me on multiple levels. To me, it says that "art" is a continuous thing, and unless you put it away and never re-visit it, then you will always be enhancing, tweaking, or updating to improve it. It says to me that we creators will constantly seek perfection, but we understand there really is no perfection.
Leonardo was more than likely referring to painting, but this phrase applies to many things in life. This particular quote may mean different things to different people, but to those of us passionate about the arts we can all agree on one thing: our work is never done. Although I've always known this to be the case, I've never had a reason to ponder the meaning behind
da Vinci's message until I started writing my novel.
After completing the first manuscript of my book, I knew I had to edit my work, and I knew that it would take several reviews until it was just okay. I quickly realized how grueling the editing process could be because I was constantly changing words around, fixing formatting issues, and adding or taking away sentences. I just couldn't perfect it.
That's when I realized I may never actually have a final draft of my book. For some, reaching the end product is feasible. To me, there really is no end product. On top of outside editing sources, I went through my manuscript eight times before I decided to publish. Once my novel was live on Amazon, I went through it again...two more times. I couldn't help it. I knew my "work of art" could somehow be better.
Some may call me a perfectionist, but I believe my inability to accept my work as is, has more to do with my appreciation for flawlessness. I finally told myself that I needed to put it away. While I hate to use the word abandon, I truly had to forget about the manuscript itself, or I would repeatedly read it over and over again.
So this leads me to my next point: the idea of self-publishing goes hand in hand with da Vinci's wisdom. I stumbled across an article the other day, which you can read here, about the advantages of self-publishing. It explains that in our modern times we now have an outlet to publish our work, and can continue to augment it after the fact. If your book is not selling you can change things in the manuscript, title, cover art, etc. and re-publish in an effort to increase sales. Your book is not finished until you want it to be finished.
After reading the article, da Vinci's quote immediately came to mind - great minds do think alike (insert wink). I feel confident that I chose the right path for my novel. And...if the mood strikes, I can always go through my book just one more time.
As I wrapped up my thoughts, I took a brief moment to contemplate Leo's wisdom on a deeper level. We as humans are a "work of art". We should never accept ourselves as is and become complacent, and we should never abandon our hopes and dreams. We can always enhance our quality of life, tweak our ambitions, and update our knowledge. With this mentality, I personally will continue to strive for more and achieve higher goals because my life - our lives are never done until we say they are done.