The Art of Sabotage


It was the middle of May, and I was deep in a round of edits of multiple projects at once. A manuscript that was long overdue in my mind, a portfolio, and a magazine that was needing to go to print sooner rather than later. Nerves were frayed, tensions were high, something had to give. The manuscript and the blog went first. I had classwork on top of my graduation materials, and I couldn’t keep up with everything. It felt at once as though the creativity had been sucked out of my soul and I could barely keep track of my thoughts unrelated to graphic design, as the portfolio show loomed near.

In the grand sense, I was thrilled that it was going to be over, ecstatic that I would no more have to see faces of teachers I loathed. I would no longer have to deal with asinine assignments that taught me nothing or struggle to perfect a magazine that had begun to fell less and less like my vision and more and more like an attempt to appease the powers that be. Less writing, more design, different design, change, change, less writing. More space.

In the aftermath of the portfolio show, I was fried for the better part of a week, but it would be months before my creativity returned to me. Or at least, that was how I felt. Eventually I got back to work on my writing, but the experience had taken a toll, and I was beginning to find myself second guessing everything I had worked hard on before portfolio show. Suddenly I was making seemingly small changes, that escalated into larger and larger changes until I was engulfed in a sea of self destruction of my own doing. I would spend months trying to sort out my changes, and in the end, I can’t help but wonder, was it really necessary?

It’s been roughly seven months since portfolio show, and I feel as though I’m only finally getting back on my feet. I’ve updated a good deal of my work, and even my brand, but until recently my mind’s been sort of circling the drain writing wise and I couldn’t figure out why. And then, I reached the 9th chapter of my current draft of my work-in-progress. I had liked, mostly the work I had done up till then, but as I found myself struggling to make sense of everything I’d done up till that moment I had to wonder, were all of the changes I had made really that necessary? Was I actually helping my story, or was I, in an effort to fix the small changes really damaging the story all along?

At what point does editing go from fleshing out the story to self destruction? At what point during the process do you wonder if you haven’t strayed so far from the pack that you can’t even see it anymore? And at what point do you decide to go back, and try to figure out where everything went wrong?

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