Quitting is Not Failure… Just a New Starting Point

When do you know you have swung and missed… even more … when do you know to stop trying to fix something which is un-fixable ?

That is where I was yesterday. I have been making a coat rack for a client. They wanted something at the door where they could hang their coats, hats, scarves.

I was sent photos of the area, the measurements of the floor space and told me to make something unique.

The perfect client!

The only problem with this kind of client is that it puts all the pressure on me to making something great. I cannot say… but that is what you said you wanted… all the design and execution choices are on me. I love that kind of work! That is why I got into the business. But it is tough sometimes.

With that in mind…I set out to make the masterpiece.

The initial idea was a tree with vines growing up it on which the coats would hang. Simple enough.

But NO!
The tree portion was made and the vines were added. I instantly felt uneasy about the flow of the design. So I worked on it to smooth out some lines and make things cleaner. Still felt uneasy.

I added parts to it…. Breaking one of my usual rules of creating i.e. things usually get better by removing rather than by adding.

But No. I added.

Then I re-bent some parts. Then I let it sit for a day, so I could come back with “fresh eyes”. And still I felt uneasy about the design.

By now the piece was, what you could have called, finished. The moment of truth was at hand.
The final test… bring it home to show it to my wife! She will look at it and I will know instantly if it works or not.

We have been married forever; I know all of her expressions (if that is possible).

She was excited to see it. I brought it in and set it on the floor. She looked at it and said….” It doesn’t work” and then took off on a list of questions and observations for me to respond to. When I did not, she thought I was mad.
But No. I looked at her and said “ I have never thought it was good. I just needed someone to agree with me.” She has a great eye for art. She loves me enough to tell me when something is good, great, or needs to be sent to the recycle bin.

We kicked around ideas for about 15 minutes and I was off on a different fork in the road.
The new idea is sound, interesting, will work well, and needs to get going.

So, when do you know that you have something that is just so wrong that it will never be good? I guess I’ll have to wait until the next time it happens and let you know if I have figured it out.

Oh in case you want to see the failed design, I have added a photo below:




You have got to be crazy if you think I am going to show it to you!

Check back and I’ll put the good one up on the blog in a few days.


Do you have a good way to determine when to cut your losses and move on to a new design?

If so, let me know by added a comment in the form below, or emailing me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com.

I would love to hear from you.



  1. Stephen,

    There’s a simple fix for your problem – take the len cap off your camera!

    You question is a very good one. In the past, I have had a project like that which I recognized from the beginning, but ignored my instincts. I guess my answer is “instincts”.



  2. I have had this happen to me and I know exactly what you are talking about. The question often has a direct correlation to how “attached” to the project you are. The more emotionally involved the longer it takes to see that “there is something majorly wrong with this picture”. I am sure the new approach with be successful for you. Get back on that horse.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s