A bunch of the bio’s of me floating around out there mention me as an “archivist.” That’s two steps away from being a hoarder. One, maybe. I keep files on all sorts of things- projects, mentions, ideas, discoveries, artifacts of my life- and I’m pretty good about keeping it organized and culling from time to time.
I found an old unfinished project of mine the other day- a book I’d been working on called “Cinderblocks & Greasepens.”
The file itself is very complete- it has the full succession of proofs from the start of the project up until it’s abandoning. Original art, cropping notes, color tests- the works. The shocking part for me was to re-visit and see how many proof cycles it had been through. My quick counting showed at least 8 full proofs. That’s not counting testing and drafts and everything else. The book kept evolving- shrinking and expanding- as time went on and I struggled to find the exact right tone and combination of design parameters to satisfy my shifting tastes. That book will stay in the archives- it’ll never get finished and never be released. It’s time has passed.
And what this really tells me is that sometimes you just have to pull the trigger. You have to say “That’s it.” And even if you’re not 100% sure about the thing, you have to let it go anyway. If you don’t it’ll spend it’s life mumbling around some archival purgatory- and worse yet- you’ll never get the feedback you need to know what to do on the next project.